Kielder Ospreys

© Forestry Commission© Forestry Commission

Ospreys are spectacular fish-eating birds of prey with a wingspan of over five feet. They became extinct as a breeding bird in England in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916 primarily due to heavy persecution by Victorian egg and skin collectors. Although things are slowly improving for ospreys they are still considered rare.

Ospreys re-colonised the UK naturally, breeding for the first time in Scotland in 1954 at Loch Garten, Abernethy Forest Reserve, and in England in 2001 at Bassenthwaite in the Lake District and today there are numerous osprey projects running across the UK to protect these rare and beautiful birds.

The Kielder Osprey Project

For many years ospreys were seen passing through Kielder without stopping, always on the way north to more long-standing nesting sites in Scotland. As more and more of the best nesting spots were taken, it was just a matter of time before they stayed south of the border. To encourage this, the Forestry Commission installed a number of platforms around the forest after a failed attempt to nest by two young birds in 2008. This paid off, as following an absence of about 200 years in Northumberland, ospreys returned to nest at Kielder in 2009.

The Kielder Osprey project is a partnership between Kielder Water and Forest Park Development TrustForestry Commission, RSPB, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water and Calvert Trust Kielder.

Every year, once the ospreys return from Kielder, Northumberland Wildlife Trust coordinates a team of knowledgeable volunteers who share their expertise with visitors from the viewing point situated behind the Boat Inn at Kielder Waterside. Osprey Watch runs Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10:30am to 4:30pm until the birds migrate in August.

The Forestry Commission has provided nest-cameras which enable us to see the nest activity and monitor the ospreys’ progress. The live-streams are available to watch both from the Kielder Castle cafe and the osprey cabin behind the Boat Inn.

In 2017, we began streaming footage from Kielder Nest 1A on the internet. The webcam is available to view from 8am to 8pm. At the moment, the stream drops out every 3 minutes but you can refresh to regain access. The issue is under investigation.

The Kielder osprey webcam is operated strictly as an educational tool, allowing visitors to get closer to the lives of these incredible birds from the comfort of their own homes. The blog will continue to provide regular updates of interesting behaviour on the nests and stills or videos of key events.

Please credit any screen grabs posted on the internet to: 'Forestry Commission England'.

Click here to view the webcam - please note you may need to update your Flash settings within your browser.

Please show your support for Kielder's ospreys!

Although Osprey Watch is mostly run by volunteers, we still rely on donations in order to complete the work we do, which includes inspiring visitors at the viewing point and osprey cabin, purchasing equipment to help us with osprey monitoring and protection, producing educational materials and outreach work, installing and maintaining new nest platforms, training and supporting volunteers.

You can now support the ospreys by joining the new Friends of Kielder Ospreys. For a minimum annual donation of £20 per year, you can help to protect these amazing and iconic creatures for future generations. 

Friends will receive:

  • Friends of Kielder Osprey certificate
  • A specially designed enamel osprey pin badge
  • An osprey fact sheet
  • An osprey e-newsletter issued 3 times per year with the latest updates on the Kielder ospreys
  • Osprey picture postcards to share with friends and family
  • A re-usuable osprey motif cotton shopping bag

Complete this form to become a Friend of Kielder Ospreys today and know that you are helping us to protect this wonderful creature for future generations.

You can also contribute to our work either by donating when you visit the Leaplish viewing point, or through Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s donation page, choosing Kielder Ospreys in the drop down list.

Check out our What’s On page for further information on osprey events planned for next year. As well as watch, Calvert Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust are running special osprey cruises again this year offering a unique viewing opportunity from Kielder Water.

We’ll be looking for volunteers to help with the project again next year so if you are interested, visit our volunteering pages on the NWT website later in the year to look for current opportunities and complete an enquiry form.

Kielder Osprey News

We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support this year. Funding has enabled us to buy new resources for Osprey Watch, such as new scopes and binoculars. We have also been able to employ a seasonal member of staff to help run Osprey Watch this year.

You can catch-up with this year's activities on the osprey blog, updated regularly during the season. For further information about Osprey Watch, please contact our Kielder Osprey Assistant Katy Smart via email: