Red kites are striking out west into new territory, according to nature watchers.
The birds of prey were persecuted to extinction in Ireland 200 years ago.
Around 80 birds were released into the skies by the RSPB over south Down between 2008 and 2010 as part of Northern Ireland’s first reintroduction programme and they largely stayed close to home —until now.
According to Pol Mac Cana of the Envision project at An Carn, Maghera, there have been sightings in the Sperrins as young birds seek to expand their range.
“Over the last year or two, a number of local people, who have knowledge of raptors, have spotted red kites in the skies over south Derry and the eastern Sperrins, including the Glenshane Pass,” he said.
“As we’re coming into spring, we want people to look out for young birds looking to expand again and find their own territories.”
RSPB red kite officer Adam McClure is to give a talk to increase awareness of the bird at Walsh’s Hotel in Maghera at 7pm next Thursday.