Custard Cream Gate

Custard Cream Gate 2021 – After ‘Bingate’ comes red kite raiding – After ‘Bingate’ comes ‘Custard Cream Gate’ in ritzy Henley-on-Thames with a red kite attacking a toddler for a custard cream.

After ‘Bingate’ comes ‘Custard Cream Gate’ in ritzy Henley-on-Thames with a red kite attacking a toddler for a custard cream

It’s all go in posh, leafy Henley-on-Thames: Aside from a binman spotting a wallaby bounding in its vicinity in 2017 and the ongoing battle about bins – as featured in The Steeple Times in January and February this year – the latest drama in the locality comes in the form of a red kite attacking a toddler for a sweet treat.

 

According to Sky News, 2-year-old Frankie Bird – a little lad with a surname clearly suited to this story – was given a biscuit by his granny outside the town’s Valley Road primary school on 10th May and was then swooped upon by a bird of prey for it.

 

Speaking to the news channel, the child’s mother, Hannah Bird, remarked:

 

“My mother-in-law gave Frankie a snack – which was a custard cream – and a red kite came down and took it out of his hand, flinging it to the ground.”

 

“The bird kept coming at Frankie to try and find the biscuit, not realising it was on the floor, which was quite scary, it just kept coming.”

 

“We had to take him to the local hospital just to get it checked, because the birds eat all sorts, so we wondered whether we needed to get it cleaned properly. It was quite a shock”

 

Going further Sky sensibly added: “Hannah added that her son has made a full recovery and that she doesn’t want red kites to get a bad reputation,” before she then continued:

 

“You know, you need to be able to eat in your garden in peace and my son should be able to have a biscuit snack in his pushchair.”

 

“I think part of me worries for the birds – if they’re this brazen and they’re not frightened anymore, they are not wild anymore. And what does that mean for them, really?”

 

Referencing the red kites of Henley-on-Thames in a more humorous manner yesterday, the Guardian’s ‘Pass Note’ column provided further examples of them swooping to share snacks. They reported:

 

“Ouch! Local resident Anna Howell was eating a salad in her back garden when a kite swooped down and helped itself to a bit of smoked mackerel.”

 

“There have also been local reports of stolen sausage rolls and hot cross buns, and even steaks lifted off barbecues.”

 

“The birds were well known as opportunistic thieves in Shakespeare’s time, but in between they were hunted to near extinction.”

 

“Do say: “Red kite at morning, get under the awning!”

 

“Don’t say: “Red kite at regatta, talons off my piccata.”

 

Elsewhere previously, indicating the propensity of red kites to go for sweet treats in June 2016, the Mirror reported on another raptor attempting to steal a cupcake from a 3-year-old, Ava Edgar-Francis, at her outdoor birthday party at Watlington Park, near Stokenchurch.

 

Speaking of the incident, the girl’s hysterical mother, Debbie Francis, blubbed: “It was such a shock and she is now petrified every time she sees a big bird in the sky.”

 

Little Frankie Bird poses for Sky News and shows his injured hand.
Frankie Bird suffered scratches as a result of the bird’s attack.
According to the RSPB, “magnificently graceful” red kites mainly eat “carrion and worms, but opportunistic and will occasionally take small mammals.” They estimate there to be 4,600 breeding pairs in the UK and of them stealing domestic food, Wikipedia observe: “In the United Kingdom, there have been several unusual instances of red kites stealing food from people in a similar manner to gulls. One such occurrence took place in Marlow, Buckinghamshire (a town near a major reintroduction site for the species in the UK in the nearby village of Stokenchurch), in which Red Kites swooped down to steal sandwiches from people in one of the town’s parks.”
The BBC reported on Henley-on-Thames’ roaming wallabies in 2017. Plainly this is a place where wildlife does as it wishes.

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