Galloway Kite Trail RSPB The Old SchoolCrossmichaelCastle Douglas, DG7 3AP, GB
calum.murray@rspb.org.uk 01556 670464 (feeding station 01644 450202)
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9. Masters of the Sky (Galloway Activity Centre)

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LocationLoch Ken New Galloway Castle Douglas Dumfries and Galloway 01644 420626
PostcodeDG7 3NQ
Telephone01644 420626
Business LinkPlease click here
Masters of the Sky

Adapted for Gliding

Once known as “Gleds” or “Gleads” (Old-Saxon for ‘glide’), red kites effortlessly glide and hang in the air. Riding air currents and rising thermals above hillsides, they float gracefully across the sky. The slightest breeze gets them up, whilst they tend to sit around in trees on calm days. Man-made kites were named after this bird, while sailing and windsurfing similarly rely on the wind.

Features that help their gliding flight

Long wings. Their wingspan is 1.5 to 1.8m (or 5 to 6 feet long), as long as a man is tall!

Long, finger-like ‘slots’ at the wing tips. These help reduce turbulence or ‘drag’, giving the bird additional lift (see diagram).kitedraw1.gif

Very lightweight body. Their light wing-loading (body weight/wing surface area) helps them to lift on each wing beat, and they float on the slightest breeze.

Long, forked tail.  Helps them to manoeuvre - twists and turns like a rudder to change direction in aerobatic delight.


Royal Status

The red kite is known as the ‘Royal Kite’ in parts of Europe. They were used as targets for falconry in the Middle Ages. Trained falcons were highly prized, if they could hunt and catch red kites. Thus, kites were given royal status for the pleasure they gave to royal hunting parties as they circled high to escape capture.

Dumfries & Galloway Leader Local Action Group