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NEWS RELEASE No: 1622831 MARCH 2014

Ospreys return to Kielder Water and Forest Park

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Female osprey in flight and returning to nest

In a move that has surprised even the most eager watchers, a female osprey returned to nest in Kielder Water & Forest Park for the sixth year in a row earlier than predicted.

Arriving on Wednesday morning, surprising many, the bird arrived at one of Kielder’s artificial nesting platforms and can be viewed on the site’s popular ‘nestcam’ live from the café in Kielder castle and Leaplish Waterside Park.

Having arrived early at the nesting platform, the osprey then spent Thursday tidying the nest and making it her own in anticipation, of a returning male which was exactly what happened when a male bird was spotted at the nest over the weekend.

Since their recolonisation to the natural environment in 2009, the Kielder ospreys have become one of the forest’s most popular residents attracting thousands of visitors to the forest nestcam and even more ‘hits’ to a blog – complete with the best stills taking from the nestcam – an up to the minute site run by volunteers (

Before their recolonisation the Kielder ospreys had not been observed in Northumberland for nearly two hundred years largely due to persecution in earlier centuries. Kielder Forest and Water Park has been deemed the perfect environment for the recolonisation ospreys to thrive given that there is 250sq miles of forest surrounding the birds.

Andrea Trager, acting Forestry Commission Recreation Ranger for Kielder Water & Forest Park said,

“Every year everyone involved with the protection of the ospreys breathes a sigh of relief when they begin to return to Kielder. The birds travel a long way to get here from sub-Saharan Africa and we look forward to hopefully welcoming a male partner here too. Only then can we wait with bated breath hoping for the next generation of ospreys to be born here.

“Last year saw chicks hatch at Kielder which was wonderful and was a source of great joy to the hundreds of people who watch their every move either through the blog or on the Kielder Castle café’s ‘nestcam’. These are the best ways to see the birds’ development given the reclusive nature of the creatures.”

Volunteers will man the Osprey Viewing Area at Leaplish Waterside Park where the public can also view the ospreys from the Kielder Ferry (the Osprey) operated by Northumbrian Water). For more details go to


For further information, images or interview requests relating to the return of the ospreys to Kielder Water & Forest Park please contact:

Sarah Bruce, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission, on 01229 862026 or

Richard Hector-Jones at Creative Concern on 07966 378 968 or

Notes to editor:

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities.
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
Kielder Osprey Watch 2014 is organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust 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.
Historically ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once extensive network of marshes. Accounts written in the 1700s refer to the presence of `fish eating hawks’ locally. However, until 2009 there were no records of the bird breeding in the county for well over two centuries. The Kielder Water & Forest Park ospreys are thought to originate from the expanding Scottish population.  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. They 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 three and five 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 one to three day intervals which are incubated for 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.
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.