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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 February, 2004, 14:16 GMT
Twitchers to spot rare species
Ospreys will be one of the main species spotted
Bird-watchers are getting the chance to see once rare species by a leading wildlife group.

Red kites and ospreys will be among the attractions of the campaign to get more people observing the birds feeding, nesting and fledging their chicks.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says there were no nesting red kites in England 15 years ago.

Around 220 pairs are now in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and the Chilterns after a re-introduction programme.

Visitors to RSPB centres in the Spring will be given high quality optical equipment to get close-up views of the rare birds.

Ivan Nethercoat, manager of the 'Aren't birds brilliant' project, said: "This programme gives people the chance to see fantastic views of some of the UK's rarest birds.

Variety of species

"We use top of the range equipment to give visitors the best views possible which helps bring them closer to birds in their natural environment.

"Although many of the species are just simply a spectacle, there are others that have faced years of struggle against extinction and just a few years ago, only the privileged few would have seen them."

Black Grouse are among the rare species making a comeback in some areas after being on the verge of extinction.

Twitchers are also being encouraged to spot Choughs, a crow-like bird with red bills and legs.

There are around 498 breeding pairs in the UK and Isle of Man.

Gowhawks will also be on show for the first time in England as part of the programme.

The species are most likely to be spotted in the Forest of Dean and the Derbyshire Peak District.

Windfall for osprey project
23 Feb 04  |  Cumbria
Osprey celebrations take off
12 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Red kites return to the skies
03 Jul 03  |  Tyne

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