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Two love-struck ospreys have been reunited in Kielder Water and Forest Park for the fourth time in as many years.
Forestry Commission rangers today confirmed that the couple – the first to breed successfully in the North East of England for at least 200 years – have been spotted on their tree top eerie in the spectacular 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Northumberland wilderness.
Ospreys develop a life-long bond and tend to be return to the same nest site each year.
But experts say that nothing could be taken for granted as both birds had to brave a hazardous 5,000 mile journey from sub-Saharan Africa back to the Borders.
Nick Adams, RSPB Area Conservation Manager, said:
“Last year the female was delayed for over a week due to bad weather en route, so we are delighted that the wait has been short this time. The birds have been exemplary parents since 2009, raising a total of seven chicks. We have great hopes of another osprey family being born in Kielder, boosting the re-colonisation of the species to other areas of England.”
Osprey courtship often involves the male attempting to woo his partner with a tasty fish – and there’s no shortage of trout nearby in Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Water. And there is no time to lose in getting reacquainted. Within the space of just five months the birds must breed, incubate eggs, nurture their youngsters, wait for them to fledge and teach them how to hunt on Kielder Water. By the end of August the chicks are on their own.
Live footage from the nest will soon be beamed into Kielder Castle Visitor Centre, which has now re-opened daily for the new season. All eyes are now on the second nest in Kielder, which produced two chicks for the first time last year. Rangers are keeping their distance and using binoculars to watch for signs that this couple has also returned.
You can also follow the ospreys' 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 http://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
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 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.
- 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
Media calls to: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.