Published on 22 May 2014 in Notes

Red Kites playing catch?

On 17th December 2008, at Calvert landfill, Buckinghamshire, I watched two Red Kites Milvus milvus in the air, seemingly playing a game of catch. The higher bird threw a small object upwards and sideways a distance of about 3 m by spinning around in the air rather like a discus thrower. As the object fell, the lower bird caught it in a talon. The birds then tumbled about for a few seconds before the bird with the object threw it back to the other bird using the same technique. They flew off into the distance, tumbling, but I didn’t see them making any more throws. This was not the usual food-passing of raptors, which is, I believe, more of a simple drop.