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Kielder Ospreys

Young Osprey chicks being ringed. Kielder forest Northumberland

Click here for the latest news from this year's osprey nesting season in Kielder Water and Forest Park.

Ospreys are large fish eating birds of prey that due to heavy persecution became extinct in the UK around a hundred years ago. Since the 1950s they have been slowly re-colonising the UK after a successful first re-introduction programme in the Scottish Highlands.

By 2000 a number of nests were occupied in southern Scotland and ospreys migrating back to Scotland were seen at Kielder over the years. By the early 2000s, ospreys sometimes summered in the Kielder area. Forestry Commission rangers identified sites that would be attractive to Ospreys and erected several nest platforms in the hope they would nest and breed. In 2009 a pair of unringed Ospreys, almost certainly Scottish bred successfully and reared three chicks. That platform (Nest One) has been used every year since, although the current pair has only been together since 2013.

In 2010 two Ospreys paired up in a different area of the forest and tried to build a nest in a tree. After the pair left on migration, the Forestry Commission stabilised the nest. As hoped the pair returned and raised two chicks in their first year. They continue to breed each year at Nest Two.

In 2014 a third platform was used by an unringed pair of birds and two chicks fledged. Also in 2014 the first Kielder born Osprey, a female from 2010, bred successfully at Foulshaw Moss in South Cumbria. Four other Kielder young have also been seen back in the UK, a good return rate.

Young Osprey chicks being ringed. Kielder forest NorthumberlandMany visitors to Kielder have enjoyed views of the Ospreys hunting over the water. The sight of one of these magnificent birds catching a fish is never forgotten. A viewpoint at Leaplish Waterside Park is manned at weekends once the chicks have hatched. From late March to early September live nest cams on Nests One and Two can be viewed at Kielder Castle Café.


England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.