Earliest hatching UK osprey chicks proves success of project

Earliest hatching UK osprey chicks proves success of project


Posted 9th May 2018 by Peter Byrne


The bank holiday weekend not only saw record-breaking temperatures at Rutland Water nature reserve but also much excitement as a trio of osprey eggs hatched

The eggs were laid by the female 'Maya' and her mate, with the first hatching on Saturday 5th, followed by the second egg on Sunday and finally the third egg on Tuesday.

This is the earliest recorded date of eggs hatching at Rutland Water, with Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, who run the Rutland Osprey Project, reporting the previous record was in 2014 when the first egg hatched on May 14th.

The osprey pair were one of the first to return to the UK after migrating over 3,000 miles from their wintering grounds in West Africa. The pair shared incubation duties for over 37 days, while the male also caught fish for both himself and Maya. With three extra mouths to feed, the male (named 33 after his ring number) has been matching the extra demand by bringing in plenty of fish.

There are eight osprey pairs in Rutland, many of which are incubating eggs, with the Trust hoping for a bumper year for the Project which will, in turn, help to safeguard the incredible bird's future.

Anya Wicikowski, Osprey Project Officer, said: "It’s great that three osprey chicks have now hatched, it just shows how resilient these birds are. The adults migrate 3000 miles from the sunny beaches of West Africa to breed here, so having the first chicks of the season is very exciting."

"It will be another 35-40 days before the chicks are ready to fledge, but the fact we already have three chicks is a true testament to the success of the Rutland Osprey Project."

The Rutland Osprey Project began in 1996 as a translocation project aiming to reintroduce the birds from Scotland to England. Before this, the birds had been driven to extinction by pesticide use and persecution. Yet by 2017, eight pairs bred in Rutland, raising 16 chicks. To date, there have been 136 chicks produced, which have gone on to repopulate other areas of the UK, including Wales.

The Rutland Osprey Project is just one of a several projects which are being conducted to help the osprey to thrive in the UK. Loch of the Lowes in Scotland, Cors Dyfi in Wales, Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria and Kielder Forest in Northumberland will all have breeding ospreys currently sitting on eggs, with the majority anticipated to hatch this month.





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