Things have been very quiet on the wildlife front lately because I’ve been working in Hong Kong. It’s been a fantastic experience in one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting cities, but at the same time it’s nice to be back in the green fields and quiet lanes of rural Bedfordshire.
Oddly enough, even in the bustling mega-city that is Hong Kong, there is still wildlife to be seen. From my window on the 14th floor of my hotel you could see large birds of prey circling on the thermals.
The locals referred to them as ‘eagles’, but they’re a species of Black Kite. Considering how scarce kites are across most of the UK, it was odd to see them in such an urban environment. They were perfectly at home, riding on the air currents between the skyscrapers, and giving me some great views as they glided past my window.
I’ve seen similar kites in India, in Delhi and Bangalore, where they are known as Pariah Kites. Kites are carrion eaters, and they feed on the bodies of cows in the cities. These cows are sacred, hence the kites are seen as outcasts or pariahs for eating them, although they do perform a necessary function in cleaning up the remains.
It’s another great example of nature adapting. Who knows, perhaps the day isn’t far off when we’ll have urban kites in the UK?