Bird experts have hit out against Buckinghamshire Council after their advice to ‘not feed red kites’ could cause negative implications to the species.

A campaign was launched by the council on social media to discourage residents across the region from feeding the birds visiting their gardens after they were reportedly getting “too close for comfort”.

This follows the reintroduction of the species to the UK in 1989 by the King after their cruel extinction during the Medieval period.

As the birds gradually adapt to today’s environment, people are also experiencing them and learning their actions for the first time in several generations.

The campaign that was released by Bucks Council said: "Did you know, feeding encourages Red Kites to become bolder than they naturally would be and to potentially fly too close for comfort?

"They can feed and thrive successfully in their natural habitat without our assistance. People were encouraged to feed them during their reintroduction in the 1990s, but now that the species is doing well, this is no longer necessary."

As a species, Red Kites were known as the first raptors that are classified as naturally “bold” hunters and known for ‘swooping down to steal food from other animals.

PHD Researcher from the University of Reading, Juliette Waterman said: “This is natural behaviour for Red kites. Ecologists called it piracy which is where animals steal food from other animals. Red kites do that to each other and other birds so it’s not surprising their doing it to humans.

“It’s a bit unfortunate but those wild animals can’t really be controlled and we have to decide how much we’re willing to live with it.”

Red Kites were brought into extinction due to laws in the Tudor period that saw any animal ‘causing a nuisance’ could be killed for a bounty. This also included foxes and badgers.

The worry from authorities is that their behaviour could change public support for the welfare of these birds, perhaps leading us back down the road toward the persecution of red kites.

Sadie Shephard, the owner of Feathers and Fur falconry centre spoke to the Chronicle on this issue after the advice was released.

She said: “Now that the birds have been reintroduced into the wild, we have put ourselves closer to nature. The human race has changed but these animals don’t know the difference.

“Because there is no longer as much in the wild environment to scavage on, these birds will go looking for it elsewhere.”

Bird feeding has always been something that has been encouraged across the UK as the red kites were reintroduced into the wild. Best practices of this however are being circulated to residents to encourage the correct behavioural habits around feeding.

Juliette Waterman added: “During case studies that the university has done surrounding this we have found that people shouldn’t be feeding them too regularly because if you feed them constantly they become very habituated to it.

“Whereas if you put out food infrequently it becomes a supplementary food so it’s not their main diet which is better because it means they’re less dependent on it.

“People that are putting out meat that is on the bone is a lot better than people putting out sausages or bacon which is much more processed.

“With bird feeding at the minute there is just not enough research to tell the long term impact on birds. It’s only been 24 years since they were reintroduced which in the grand scale of things isn’t long.

“The problem is that a lot of the time when people are talking about not feeding birds they say that it’s not natural, but there’s nothing about our environment today that is completely natural.

“Because we’ve depleted the wild environment of their natural foods, there is a bit of a justification for topping it up by putting out food.”

According to experts, Red Kites are flocking to Reading town centre due to the volume of food in urban areas and the absence in the wild. Although this may cause a problem, it is also what is supporting the large population of Red Kites across the Berkshire countryside.

“If people are opting to feed them in the safest possible way then the impact will be minimal. If someone is constantly feeding them so they are becoming dependent that is the type of behaviour we want to stop.”