Kielder's awesome foursome

The delicate task of ringing at least 10 young ospreys at Kielder Water and Forest Park is under way, carried out by experts from the Forestry Commission.

Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 10:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 11:32 am

This important task helps the team at the Kielder Osprey Project to monitor the birds’ progress. The project had another successful year as four chicks hatched on Nest 1A, a one-in-100 chance of occurrence and one of only three ‘public’ osprey sites with four chicks being reared in the UK. The awesome foursome were the first to be ringed and all in good health.

This rare occurrence was in addition to the establishment of a new nest site in Kielder. The team is delighted with the new nest, which uses one of several nest platforms set up by the Forestry Commission’s wildlife team to provide ospreys with a place to breed.

The Kielder awesome foursome. Picture by Paul Pickett, Forestry Commission

Ringing the chicks allows ecologists to examine the health of the five to six-week-old birds and make various checks and measurements. The chicks are not small – with a wingspan of about one metre – and the ringing is carefully managed under license.

One chick will be fitted with a satellite tracker, a tiny backpack which sends information via the mobile phone network. This provides significantly more effective monitoring of the birds than by ringing alone.

This year, the project has been closely monitoring the satellite tracker of UV, born at Kielder in 2014. The information on his journey back to the UK is providing a fascinatingly detailed insight into the osprey migration journey and travels to identify potentially good fishing areas, the first step in establishing his own territory.

Tom Dearnley, ecologist at the Forestry Commission, said: “Ospreys are a fascinating species and I am delighted our work is helping their continued recovery in northern England and southern Scotland. As Kielder Water and Forest Park ages, it is becoming more diverse and ospreys are a great illustration of this natural succession, delighting visitors to the area.”

The Kielder awesome foursome. Picture by Paul Pickett, Forestry Commission