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NEWS RELEASE No: 144687 MARCH 2011

Rangers scale the heights to help love-struck osprey

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Ospreys nesting at Kielder Water and Forest Park, June 2009

Tree climbers went up in the world today to help a frisky osprey bachelor entice a mate.

The first of three new artificial osprey platforms was erected by the Forestry Commission in Kielder Water & Forest Park.

Wildlife rangers donned their harnesses and scaled a 20 metre spruce to lop the top of the tree with a chain saw and install a secure wooden decking.

This approach has already struck gold with Kielder's resident osprey couple who have produced six chicks over two years using their own platform some distance away.

However, last year they had an unwelcome house caller when a lone male turned up and tried to seduce the female on her nest while hubby was away fishing.

The Kielder Partnership now wants to help the new male meet a love-bird and offer her a ready made des res.  If he can it would make the 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) wilderness the only location in England to have two osprey nests with birds which have recolonised naturally.

Elisabeth Rowark, Kielder Partnership Director, said:

"We won’t have long to wait to see if it does the trick as ospreys begin to arrive back from southern climes from the end of March.  Nature fans across Northumberland are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for the Kielder birds and report sightings of a true super star of the animal kingdom."

Kielder Osprey Watch 2011 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. 

Sightings of the ospreys can be reported to or posted on the Kielder Water & Forest Park Facebook page accessed from

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


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 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.

  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 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.
    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 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.

  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.

Media calls
Richard Darn, Forestry Commission, on 0775 367 0038.

Philippa Clark, Communications Advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538.  Mobile 07970 897 756 or