Your chance to come face-to-face with an osprey!

23.06.2010

Three osprey chicks are ready to make more natural history in Northumberland - and now youngsters are being invited to suggest names for each of them!

The record breaking birds in Kielder Water & Forest Park are the second brood to hatch in the north east after their siblings successfully fledged year – the first to do so in the region for many centuries.

Rangers report that the chicks are growing really well and putting on plenty of weight. They are now moving around the nest – or eerie, built on top of a tree in the 155,000 acre wilderness – and exercising their wings to build up strength.

All being well they should make their first flight at the end of July.

Now the Kielder Partnership want children across the region to suggest the best names for the three chicks, with the winner and guardian being offered a unique chance to join rangers and watch as the birds are ringed.*

Elisabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Partnership, said:

“Every chick that takes to the air is a massive step forward for conservation efforts and its only right to bestow such fabulous birds with a special name. We are looking for suggestions that capture the character, bravery and star quality of these fabulous fish eating creatures which will travel to Africa before they hopefully return to Kielder Water & Forest Park in a few years time. So don’t be shy, come up a good name and you could come face-to-face with an osprey!”

* Children need to offer three names for each of the ospreys. There will only be one winner. The prize is subject to terms and conditions and is non-transferable and the winner must be available mid-week early July to attend the ringing.

To make your suggestion visit www.visitkielder.com and submit via the ′contact us′ form or email info@kielderpartnership.co.uk with ′Osprey naming competition′ in the subject line. Include the child′s full name, parent′s full name, postal address, email address and telephone number.** The closing date is 1 July and the competition is open to children aged between the of 5 - 16 years old.

Good luck!

Notes to Editor

** Kielder Partnership 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.

Live CCTV footage of the ospreys can be viewed at Kielder Castle and the adjoining Dukes Pantry Tearoom daily. The popular osprey viewing area at the Mounces Car Park, just west of Leaplish Waterside Park off the C200, is also open and will be staffed on weekends until 25 July from 10am to 5pm.

Kielder Osprey Watch 2010 is organised by the Kielder Partnership, 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. To find out more go to www.visitkielder.com.

Kielder Water & Forest Park was recently voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Osprey Fact File:

Historically ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once extensive network of marshes. However, records going back more than 200 years fail to mention any ospreys breeding in the county. Ospreys were once distributed widely, 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.

a) Ospreys are migratory and arrive in late March and April and leave again for Africa in August and September.

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

c) Ospreys normally breed for the first time when they are aged between 2 and 4 years old.

d) They are largely monogamous and strongly faithful both to nest and mate.

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

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

g) Like most other birds of prey, 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.

h) Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.

Kielder Partnership is a public, voluntary and private sector collaboration working to develop Kielder Water & Forest Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun. Partners are the Calvert Trust, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water, plus representation from community groups. The Northumberland Wildlife Trust is an associate member.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to safeguard native wildlife. One of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has campaigned for nature conservation for over 40 years. It aims to inform, educate and involve people of all ages and backgrounds in protecting their environment in favour of wildlife and conservation. Supported by over 13,000 individual and 56 corporate members in the Region, Northumberland Wildlife Trust manages and protects critical species and habitats at over 60 nature reserves throughout Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We believe that nature is amazing and we want people to help us keep it that way. In 2008, we launched a campaign to highlight the fact that birds of prey continue to be killed, despite the fact that it is illegal and has been for decades. Over 200,000 people signed our pledge to stop the illegal killing of birds of prey, which was handed in to former wildlife minister Huw Irranca Davies at Westminster in February 2010.

Media calls to:

Richard Darn, Forestry Commission, on 01226 246351. Mobile 0775 367 0038.

Philippa Clark, Communications Advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538. Mobile 07970 897 756 or philippa.clark@nwl.co.uk

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