Cheeky birds of prey with a history of stealing unsuspecting swimmers’ underwear are at it again in Angus.
Gamekeeper Dave Clement was amused last year to find that a pair of red kites on his estate at Gannochy had stolen pants and socks from a popular local wild swimming spot, to line their nest.
The discovery was unearthed after he called RSPB officials to have the kites’ young ringed and recorded and the garments were spotted in the nest, perched high in a larch tree.
Now, following another successful ringing operation in 2016, more socks and pants have been found in the kites’ nest, along with four chicks.
It follows a number of breeding raptor successes in the Angus Glens, with amber-listed Kestrels and Barn Owls rearing healthy broods on sporting estates.
Dave Clement, member of the Angus Glens Moorland Group, said it appeared that the Kites had become more discerning in 2016, choosing branded undergarments.
He explained: “The licences ringer who went up the tree to the nest said there were Armani pants and another brand as well as socks, which they must have pinched off the swimmers at the local gorge.
“It seems they will take anything to line the nest, then lay the eggs on top, and someone must have gone home minus some underwear.
“It is clearly working because a nest is very successful. Last year there were two chicks, now it’s four, and there is clearly plenty of food for them on the estate.
“One of the four chicks is smaller than the others. My daughter Emma (11) has named it ‘Georgi’ and, obviously, we all hope it survives with the others.”