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.

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.

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 during the season.

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


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 through Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s donation page, choosing Kielder Ospreys in the drop down list.

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

The 2017 Kielder osprey season has now concluded and the ospreys have migrated south for the winter – we look forward to their return in the spring. To keep up to date with the birds, follow the osprey blog.

This year has seen investment in Kielder Osprey Watch through the Living Wild at Kielder project which is funded by National Lottery Players through the Heritage Lottery Fund. It has enabled us to buy new equipment including scopes and binoculars and also allowed us to employ a member of staff for the first time. We will be making further improvements ahead of the 2018 season.