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The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"Pioneering technology will monitor their movements as never before"
 real 56k

The BBC's Bob Walker
"Providing the sun shines, ospreys' migratory patterns can be followed"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 August, 2000, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
'Solar-powered' ospreys
nesting ospreys
Ospreys have been fitted with solar-powered tracking devices
By Environment correspondent Tim Hirsch

Solar-powered satellite tracking devices are being fitted to ospreys as part of a project to re-establish the birds of prey in England, 150 years after they disappeared.

For the past five years, a small number of osprey chicks have been brought down from Scotland to Rutland Water in the Midlands and released.

Last year, electronic transmitters were attached to the fish-eating birds so that scientists could keep track of their movements.

But because the devices were battery powered, the birds could only be monitored for a single season.

So when this year's chicks are released on Tuesday morning, they will be carrying more sophisticated transmitters powered by sunlight.

This should make it possible to track each individual osprey for up to three or four years, giving a much more complete picture of the lifestyle of these majestic creatures.

Last year's tracking confirmed that once they leave Rutland Water in late August or September, the ospreys fly as far afield as Mali in West Africa to spend the winter months.

The devices send their signals back via satellite, and the ospreys' progress can be monitored by scientists - and the public - via the internet.

One disappointment for the project is that this was the first year when the original chicks would have been old enough to breed - but so far, the English air does not seem to have got them in the mood.

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See also:

04 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Bird's eye view of osprey odyssey
03 Sep 99 | UK
Ospreys return to England
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