Second pair of love birds return to Kielder

Osprey

13.04.2012

Another pair of rare ospreys has returned to Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland.

KIELDER OSPREY WATCH 2012 - Press Notice 13 April 2012 - To: News Desk 15416

1. One of the two chicks raised by the first-time parents last summer.

The news that everyone has been waiting for duly arrived today when the birds were spotted in binoculars building their tree top nest on an artificial platform erected by the Forestry Commission.

The couple bred successfully for the first time in the 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) wilderness last summer.

Earlier this month experts revealed that the original Kielder osprey couple – which produced the first chicks in 2009 – were also back for a fourth year running.

Philip Spottiswood, Forestry Commission Wildlife Manager for Northern England, said:

"News that both pairs are back aiming to raise more chicks is a massive step forward. The second pair arrived a little late, causing us one or two anxious moments. But the prospects are looking good and we hope to add to the nine chicks raised in Kielder since the species returned to breed for the first time in at least two centuries in 2009.”

Last summer′s first time parents had two chicks – one of which was much less developed than the other, but which nonetheless pulled through to grace the skies above Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Reservoir along with its sibling. The nest was monitored from afar to avoid disturbing the family. But this year cameras have been erected and live footage will soon be beamed into Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and Leaplish Waterside Park for visitors to enjoy. A nest cam on the original nest is already showing live images at Kielder Castle.

On the “to-do” list for the ospreys is a rapid courtship, laying and incubating eggs, nurturing and feeding youngsters and teaching them how to hunt on Kielder Water. And all before the end of August!

Kielder is only the second location in England where ospreys have naturally recolonised after becoming extinct in the mid-19th century.

You can follow the birds′ fortunes at http://kielderospreys.wordpress.com and sign up for regular updates on Twitter @KielderOspreys.

To record your own osprey sightings go to the VisitKielder Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kielder.

Kielder Osprey Watch 2012 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. To find out more go to www.visitkielder.com

Media calls to: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.

NOTES TO EDITOR

1. 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 1847 and in Scotland in 1916. Some birds re-colonised Scotland in 1954s 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.

2. Osprey Fact File:

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

• 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 4-5 years old.

• They are largely monogamous and faithful both to nest and mate.

• The nest is generally built on the top of a large tree.

• Females lay two or three eggs at 1-3 day intervals which are incubated for about 38 - 42 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.

3. 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. Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

4. 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.

5. The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We believe that nature is amazing and want people to help us keep it that way. We are the largest wildlife conservation organisation in Europe with over one million members. Wildlife and the environment face many threats. Our work is focussed on the species and habitats that are in the greatest danger.

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