When Bird Watching was launched in 1986, the RSPB was in talks to begin a reintroduction scheme. At that time, the tiny UK population was restricted to a few valleys in mid-wales, and extinction in this country was still a very real possibility. Three years later, the first kites were released in Buckinghamshire and northern Scotland, and releases continued until 1994. The result? There are now more than 1,600 breeding pairs in the UK.