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Friday, July 31, 1998 Published at 04:27 GMT 05:27 UK


UK

Ospreys return to England

Experts hope the birds will use Rutland Water as their home

Efforts have begun to encourage ospreys to breed in England, for the first time in 150 years, following the birds' successful reintroduction to Scotland.


BBC's Robert Piggot reports on the move to reintroduce ospreys to England
The strongest chicks have been taken from a dozen broods in Scotland and are being kept in pens overlooking Rutland Water before being released.

Rutland Water, in Leicestershire, is Western Europe's largest man-made lake, covering more than 3,000 acres.

Ospreys usually spend several months near their nests before migrating to West Africa where they stay for about three years. They then return to their birthplace to breed.

Ospreys have frequently used Rutland Water on their way back to Scotland and it is hoped that the birds taken there as chicks will regard it as their home.

Almost exclusively a fish eater, ospreys are noted for their feet first dramatic diving into the water when catching fish. Its markings are reminiscent of a highwayman's mask and was a common sight in England at the time of Shakespeare.

If efforts to encourage ospreys to breed are successful birdwatchers may still have to wait until the year 2000 before any of the chicks return to breed as adults

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BBC live camera of nesting ospreys

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