A bird of prey found stunned by a roadside in Lasham after a near-600 mile journey has been nursed back to health by an East Hampshire-based wildlife rescue charity and released back into the wild.
The majestic red kite, originally tagged 578 miles away in Germany, was discovered in Lasham by a member of the public and taken to HART Wildlife Rescue which cared for it until it was well enough to be freed.
The Medstead-based charity said it was the first red kite from Germany to be found in the UK for 32 years, and on arrival at its headquarters last week the bird was “clearly stunned but uninjured”.
Staff noticed the ring on the bird’s leg was from a German ringing project and reported it via the British Trust for Ornithology website.
The German organisation contacted the charity the following day, and revealed the bird had been identified as a “nestling” or youngster on June 17, 2019 at Bützower See lake near the Baltic coast.
It had since flown 578 miles before ending up in trouble in Lasham, the charity said, probably after being clipped by a car or glanced over a windscreen.
Paul Reynolds, manager of HART Wildlife Rescue, said: “When the red kite arrived it was a little bit dazed and confused, but otherwise in good condition.”
The bird of prey spent a couple of days in the charity’s Medstead hospital and was then released into one of its flight aviaries, where it flew and was “eating and doing all the things we wanted it to do”, Mr Reynolds added.
A HART Wildlife Rescue spokesperson said: “We were happy for him to be released from a hill adjacent to where he was originally found.
“He was so keen to fly off that we hadn’t even put him on the ground before he leapt from our hands and flew off to continue his wild life.”
Mr Reynolds said there were only seven recorded cases of red kites flying to the UK from Germany.