Kielder ospreys clock up a record-breaking year

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The Kielder ospreys have made 2016 a record-breaking year with a healthy hatching of nine chicks – the most ever recorded since the birds re-colonised in Northumberland seven years ago.

The latest arrival on Nest 2 has completed the new brood, topping the area’s previous record fledging of eight in 2014.

This includes four healthy chicks on Nest 1A, one of only two public nests in the UK to have hatched so many eggs this year.

Joanna Dailey, Kielder osprey expert volunteer, said: "It has been so exciting to watch the nests and see these eggs hatch, and the public visiting the web cams have been equally enthralled.

"To have four chicks on one nest is very rare, a one in 100 occurrence, so that’s particularly great to see."

There are now four chicks on Nest 1A, three on Nest 2 and two on Nest 3.

Joanna said: "To have a record number of healthy chicks at Kielder is very rewarding for all involved. Ospreys re-colonised in Northumberland in 2009, following an absence from the region spanning more than 200 years, and we are seeing the species flourish here once again.

"The work the Forestry Commission Wildlife Rangers put into establishing these platforms is now so rewarding for everyone involved."

Wildlife lovers can also keep up to date with all the stories as they unfold through the Kielder osprey blog atkielderospreys.wordpress.com

Ospreys are migratory and arrive in late March and April and leave again for Africa in August and September. They normally breed for the first time when they are aged between four and five.

They are largely monogamous and faithful both to nest and mate. The nest is generally built on the top of a large tree and the females lay two or three eggs at one to three day intervals which are incubated for about 38 to 42 days per egg.

Ospreys divide the nesting duties between the pair. The female does most of the incubating, brooding and direct feeding of the young. She guards them throughout the nesting period and will share the hunting at later stages when the chicks are larger. The male is the major provider of fish for the female and chicks.

Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.