A RED kite staged a remarkable recovery to be released back into the wild after being found almost lifeless on a roadside.

The injured bird of prey was handed in to the Falconry Days bird of prey centre in Simonburn on Saturday, August 4, after it was found by a passer-by.

The bird was placed in intensive care, which included feeding a high protein additive with rehydration fluid through a tube.

The process was repeated every two hours, and involved overnight supervision to ensure the bird regained its health.

Mark French from the centre, who supervised the red kite’s treatment, believed that the bird had got lost and found itself on uncommon ground at Rye Hill Farm, near Slaley.

He said its near-death experience was probably due to the recent spate of hot weather and dry conditions.

“A problem that makes the care more difficult is that when stressed, the red kites often pretend to be dead,” he said.

The North-East of England currently has 57 recorded red kites from three roosts, and they are often spotted in the Derwent Valley and County Durham.

And the centre was in contact with the Friends of the Red Kites’ North-East group for advice.

“Getting it back on its feet in an aviary after two days was a huge milestone,” Mark added.

“It was very much a step-by-step process ensuring he was fit and healthy to return to flying.

“He was only here a week, but it’s important not to keep them very long.”

Before take off, the bird was ringed to easily identify if, it ever needed to return to the centre.

The red kite was released on Friday afternoon at Rye Hill Farm, Slaley, where it was found.

Mark said: “We wanted to release him back in a comfortable environment, so it was a bonus that he flew away nice and strong.”

Falconry Days is a professional falconry business which trains and flies around 70 birds of prey.

The centre is regularly asked to rescue and rehabilitate injured wild birds which it then endeavours to reintroduce into the wild

“We’re not exactly vets, but I still get a buzz from being able to help birds recover and seeing them back in the wild,” Mark added.