First chick fathered by a Kielder fledged Osprey in 200 years is ringed for tracking

The first chick fathered by Kielder fledged osprey for 200 years has been ringed so it can be tracked on its migration to sub-Saharan Africa.

The chick, Elsin, is just 38 days old and weighs around 1.38 kilos. It was given the blue tag with '437' written on it after being lowered down from a man-made nest deep in Kielder Forest, Northumberland.

The ring will help Forestry England keep tabs on where the bird goes during its migration, which should begin in late August.

Forestry England ornithologist, Martin Davison, told ITV News Tyne Tees that the public can help keep track of Elsin by taking photographs of it at various points of its journey.

He said it is important to know where the bird flies to, stops to eat and settles in order to protect it.

He said: "They have to feed on the way (to Africa). So if we can identify where them birds are or are actually trying to live and then going down to an area and saying look these points are really important for ospreys, you know, can you make sure that they’re not drained at the wrong time of year or that there’s a sudden huge fishing competition and the birds can’t come down and fish or whatever it might be. That gives you a lot of information which you can hopefully act on."

Ospreys were extinct in England during the 20th century, but returned to breed again in the 62,000-hectare Kielder Water and Forest Park in 2009.

Joanna Dailey has monitored the birds during the 12 years since and even saw Elsin's father hatch around 2014.

She said: "I saw that particular chick being fitted with his tracker and ringed, so I’ve seen him since when he hatched to now, when he’s a dad. So that’s just so thrilling to see a chick thrive and now be contributing to the North of England population."

Male ospreys are more likely to return to Kielder, driven by their homing instincts.

Elsin's father migrated to Senegal after being fitted with a satellite tag in 2014. Following an epic journey when he was thrown thousands of miles off course by a sandstorm, he eventually returned to Kielder in 2016 to breed.

Adam Fletcher, the wildlife ranger who bagged Elsin on Monday so he could be weighed and ringed, said the birds are very docile.

He said: "ospreys in particular, their flight or fight response when they see a predator is to clamp down in the nest and try to camouflage themselves so basically I put my head over the nest and he just clamped down. So I’ve spiked up the pole. Lowered the chick down to Martin, the bird man and Martin has taken all his vital statistics."