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NEWS RELEASE No: 134909 APRIL 2010

Osprey couple back together in Kielder

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Osprey birds at Kielder in 2010

Kielder Water & Forest Park’s record breaking ospreys are a couple once again!

The Kielder Partnership can reveal that the female bird - who mothered three chicks last year, the first born in the North East of England for at least 200 years - has returned to the same nest she used last year, where she was greeted by her feathered partner who flew in earlier last week.

News that the two are back together has thrilled conservationists.

Footage of the nest - built on a platform high in a tree in the 155,000 acre Northumberland wilderness – is being streamed live to visitors at Kielder Castle, who were able watch as the birds lost no time in getting romantic after the female tucked into a fish supper plucked from Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Water.

Elisabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Partnership, said:

"There are never any guarantees with wildlife, so the fact that the couple are back safely from sub-Saharan Africa and that they are using the same nest where we have installed cameras is tremendous news. The prospect of more chicks being born in Kielder Water & Forest Park has got everyone very excited and the public will be able to enjoy a grandstand view."
Osprey courtship often involves the male attempting to woo his partner by providing a tasty fish. The bird stays faithful both to nest and mate.

Live images of Kielder’s ospreys are being broadcast to Kielder Castle and the Dukes Pantry Tea Room between 10am and 4pm daily.

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

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

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 last year 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.
    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.

The 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 Kielder, 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

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

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