Conservationists celebrate arrival of the first two osprey chicks of the year at Kielder Water and Forest Park

Osprey Kielder
An image of the first osprey chick born in Kielder Water and Forest Park. Photo: Richard Darn

The forest is only the second location in England where the bird has naturally recolonised after becoming extinct in the 19th century.Forestry Commission staff monitoring live video footage in Kielder Castle cheered with delight when they spotted the first chick, who like his sibling is reported to be healthy and able to hold himself upright.

Nature fans can watch the action unfold this weekend with the launch of the Kielder Osprey Watch 2012.

It's always a big moment to watch an egg hatch, especially if the bird is as rare as an osprey. But with live video footage we have a grandstand view of natural history in the making.We hope the weather stays calm as last year a bad storm killed two of the three young ospreys in this nest. So far everything is looking good.

– Malte Iden, Forestry Commission Ranger at Kielder Castle

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.

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.
  • Nests are 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. Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.

The ospreys have the caught the public imagination - they are the perfect bird to celebrate the mix of forest and water we have in such abundance at Kielder. Seeing the distant nest in a telescope and then looking at the close-up views on the CCTV at Leaplish will give a wonderful insight into this superstar of the animal kingdom.

– Roger Neilson, volunteer with Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Kielder Osprey Watch 2012 is being organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, the RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.