Three bouncing chicks for Kielder′s record breaking ospreys

09.06.2010

You can download and use footage of the first chick being fed fish by mum at: http://vimeo.com/12237901 

Richard Darn can supply a two minute AVI file of the footage direct – call Richard Darn on
0775 367 0038
.

The Kielder Partnership can reveal that three healthy young ospreys chicks have been born in Kielder Water & Forest Park.

Rangers have been anxiously monitoring a clutch of three eggs produced by the record breaking osprey couple, who last year became the first birds for at least 200 years to successfully raise chicks in Northumberland.

Now they have repeated that remarkable feat and have three more young mouths to feed!

Malte Iden, Ranger at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre, said

“We have been watching riveting CCTV coverage being beamed back to Kielder Castle. The other morning we were absolutely thrilled to see little ospreys on the screen! We can see them really clearly and Dad has been bringing them fish to build up their strength.”

The male will now re-double his hunting efforts on Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Water to keep his family well nourished. All being well, chicks should make their first flights seven weeks after hatching.

The nest – or eyrie – has been built high in a tree in the 155,000-acre wilderness by Forestry Commission rangers, although the birds have been busy making the place their own by bringing in vegetation and twigs.

Elisabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Partnership, said:

“The nest is only the second location in England where ospreys have recolonised naturally. Every osprey born here carries the hopes of conservationists keen to see the bird make a come back. Last year’s chicks all fledged successfully and a repeat of that would be brilliant. It gladdens the heart to see ospreys becoming as iconic at Kielder as red squirrels. It underlines what a magical place this is for wildlife as well as people.”

Live CCTV footage 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.

Notes to Editor

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.

Osprey Fact File:

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

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.

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

They are largely monogamous and 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.

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.

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. We are calling for an end to this unacceptable cruelty, but the campaign can only be effective with widespread support. To date, over 105,000 people have signed our pledge to stop the illegal killing of birds of prey. Support the pledge and add your voice to ours at http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/birdsofprey/index.asp

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is a registered charity: England and Wales no 207076, Scotland no. SC037654

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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