Come face to face with baby ospreys!

01.06.2011

Young nature fans are being invited to join Forestry Commission wildlife rangers and watch Northumberland’s record breaking osprey chicks ringed!

But to win this fabulous prize you will have to put on your thinking caps and suggest catchy names for the feathered youngsters.

Last year Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust ran a competition to come up with names for the three 2010 chicks - ten year old Olivia Graham from Wooler topped the entries with her great suggestions of Splash, Spray and Aqua.

This year the ospreys have laid three more eggs for the third year in succession - an amazing hat-trick! - and fingers are crossed that all of them hatch and chicks take to the skies, but there are no guarantees.

Even so Kielder chiefs want to give children plenty of time to get creative so they are launching the competition now in search of three great names.

Elizabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said:

“The competition really caught children’s imagination and once again we want them to come up with suggestions that capture the star quality of these magnificent fish-eating birds. The chance to join rangers when the chicks are ringed is a once in life time thrill."

Ospreys first nested in Kielder Water & Forest Park in 2009 using an artificial platform erected by tree climbing wildlife rangers. The pioneering pair were the first to breed successfully in the North East for at least 200 years, raising three healthy Northumbrian chicks. They repeated this wonderful feat last year.

How to Enter:

Email info@visitkielder.com with ′Osprey naming competition′ in the subject line. Include the full name of both child and parent/guardian, postal and email addresses and telephone number.**

The closing date is 6 July and the competition is open to children aged between the ages of 5 - 16 years old.

There will only be one winner. The prize is subject to terms and conditions and is non-transferable and the winner and guardian/parent must be available mid-week around the middle of July to attend the ringing.

Good luck!

Ospreys were once distributed widely in the UK, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916. Some birds re-colonised Scotland in the 1950s and by 2001 there were nearly 160 breeding pairs (today about 200). The same year saw the first successful osprey nests in England for 160 years by re-colonising birds in the Lake District and re-introduced ones at Rutland Water in the East Midlands.

Osprey Fact File:

Ospreys arrive in the UK in late March and April and leave again for Africa in August and September to avoid the cold northern European winter.

The bird is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to illegal killing and egg theft) and low breeding numbers.

Ospreys normally breed for the first time when they are aged between 2 and 4 years old and are strongly faithful both to nest and mate.

The nest is generally built on the top of a large tree, usually a conifer.

Females lay two or three eggs at 1-3 day intervals which are incubated for about 37 days per egg.

Ospreys divide the nesting duties between the pair. The female does most of the incubating, brooding and direct feeding of the young. She guards them throughout the nesting period and will share the hunting at later stages when the chicks are larger. The male is the major provider of fish for the female and chicks.

Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.

Kielder Osprey Watch 2011 is organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, the RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust. The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water & Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the nest site.

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust (KWFPDT) is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun. www.visitkielder.com

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to safeguard native wildlife. http://www.nwt.org.uk/

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. http://www.rspb.org.uk/

** Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust would like to hold your details to keep you informed of future events and activities from ourselves and KW&FP business partners. If you prefer not to be contacted please indicate. Partners include: Calvert Trust Kielder, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water. Northumberland Wildlife Trust is an associate member.

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.

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