Red kite feeding in Wales
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The red kite is Wales' most popular bird. In some parts of mid-Wales red kites are regularly fed by humans. This has a dual purpose: it is intended to help sustain and increase the kite population through the provision of extra food, and it also acts as a tourism draw.
Locations at which this takes place include:
- The Black Mountain Feeding Station at Llanddeusant in the Brecon Beacons, which is visited daily by over 50 birds.
- Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding and Rehabilitation Centre, near Rhayader where between 200 and 500 kites visit per day. The visiting birds regularly include the very rare leucistic (white) red kite.
- Nant-yr-Arian, a Forestry Commission centre near Ponterwyd, Ceredigion, where over 30 kites feed every day.
Debate has taken place over the effectiveness of kite-feeding as a conservation method. Practitioners of kite-feeding argue that it has helped to increase the species' population, and sustain the birds through poor winters. It has also been suggested that the practice of feeding kites has hampered their spread out of central Wales into other parts of the United Kingdom.