I have read that the reason red kites needed our help to survive is that they are rather stupid birds, as well as being too slow to catch wild animals unless dead, and easy to pick off. Their lazy style of movement, often described as graceful, and their attractive colour scheme and distinctive shape make them rewarding for inexpert birders like me. We have lots of kites around us, noisy occupants of the trees behind our house where they spend hours arguing with crows and buzzards. In aerial combat they are hopeless, like heavy bombers under attack from a swarm of fighter jets. The buzzard may have a squeaky voice like Jack Nicklaus, and he may not be a looker, but he knows his place and I feel rather aggrieved on his behalf that we have helped the red kite to move in to it.
Just now I spent a few minutes watching a kite and a crow feeding on a squashed rabbit in the road. At the approach of a car the kite would fly off into the field well in advance, while the crow waited until the last minute, hopped out of the way and back again as soon as the car passed. The kite would return to the feast just in time to be shoo’d away by the next car. You would think it might eventually have the nous to pick up the dead rabbit, carry it into the field and eat it there. Stupid bird doesn’t even clean the road.