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 to 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 normally runs from April to August when our birds return. Our wonderful volunteers undertook their annual training in March but then we were hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, and sadly Kielder Waterside closed public access at the same time. You can now visit Kielder again but sadly we have taken the decision to cancel Osprey Watch for this year. We hope to be back in 2021.
On a positive note, Forestry England continues to provide nest-cameras which enable us to see the nest activity and monitor the ospreys’ progress. Currently a dedicated volunteer and osprey expert, is monitoring the live-streams from the safety of her home and updating the osprey blog. You can follow the progress here.
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 contribute to our work by donating through Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s donation page, choosing Kielder Ospreys in the drop down list. And for a limited time, you can claim a special enamel pin badge when you donate £10 or more to the osprey project. Thank you!
Look out for volunteering opportunities with the project on the NWT website here.
Show your support!
Kielder Osprey News
34 wonderful volunteers provided sterling support for Osprey Watch 2019 from April to August no matter what the weather threw at them. Our fantastic team welcomed 4,792 visitors to the watch and also supported on the Calvert Kielder cruises, providing 1,104 hours of time. Thank you so much!
A new osprey pole for 2020 - Blue UV was hatched at Kielder in 2014 and last year was the first Kielder osprey to establish a territory in the forest. This year Forestry England have installed a new nesting pole, in hopes of encouraging osprey Blue UV to nest and successfully attract a mate.
This year we have 7 nests, already with a number of eggs and chicks starting to hatch. View the latest news on our birds by following the fantastic osprey blog.
Chick them out: Kielder has 11 new ospreys, with more to come
The Kielder ospreys have been making the most of the warm weather and adding to their numbers, following a record return to…
Ospreys return to Kielder Water and Forest Park
Ospreys have returned to nest in the forests of Kielder Water & Forest Park for the twelfth year in a row. And whilst it is just…
Eyes to the skies for the return of the ospreys
It’s eyes to the skies time again in Northumberland as wildlife lovers prepare for the return of the Kielder ospreys.