Villagers told not to feed Red Kites near RAF base
Friday, March 26 2010 @ 02:50 PM EDT
Contributed by: jkr
Red Kites, which have seen their numbers soar as a result of a 20-year campaign to protect them - gather round RAF Benson base in Oxfordshire because locals are putting out scraps for them to eat.
The RAF is worried the huge birds will collide with helicopters which regularly fly in and out of the base.
Station flight safety officer Flt Lt Steve Bishop urged people to consider the risks to pilots.
"Birds are an inherent danger to military and civilian aircraft flying below 2,000 feet.
"A helicopter or aeroplane impacting with a large bird such as a red kite at over 100mph can shatter windscreens, injure aircrew and seriously damage aircraft.
"The red kite is a beautiful bird and we're very lucky to see it living in the Oxfordshire countryside.
"However, people leaving out scraps to encourage the birds mean we have seen unprecedented numbers of not only kites but also other scavenge feeders, such as rooks, close to a busy airfield.