Kites Courting

A lone black kite appeared around Geneva two weeks ago. In many parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Australia), these kites are common, but in this part of Europe they are rare. A special reserve has been created on the Arve River, near Gaillard where we live, to encourage them to nest there.

This bird, on its solitary flights over Lake Geneva each day, between France and Switzerland, had plenty of time to ponder the reasons why so many birds are in decline in these countries. Habitat destruction and damaging agricultural practices would be obvious from up there. It would be harder to see what is going on in people’s hearts.

Last week, a second kite appeared. Both birds swung low, swapping a branch in that time-honoured ritual kites use when they are courting. It matters to them they are a couple, and that kites will breed this year. But it may matter more, for their long-term future, that those on the ground also love to have them back, and make room for them.

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