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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Bird-watching Big Brother style
Osprey chick - Norman Healy/Forestry Commission
Osprey chicks hatched in the nest last year
Bird-watchers in Cumbria are to get their own bird's eye view of life in an osprey nest.

The Forestry Commission has fixed a camera to a tree overlooking the nest of England's first pair of breeding ospreys.

The pair are due to return to their nest in the forest near Thornthwaite later this month.

Pictures will be beamed from the nest site to the visitors centre in Whinlatter 24 hours a day.

We are just keen for people to come back and share our experiences

Nathan Fox, Forestry Commission

Graeme Prest from the Forestry Commission said: "This is a very special opportunity for people to see these spectacular birds at close quarters.

"It provides an exciting alternative to watcing ospreys from the open-air facilities at Dodd Wood."

The ospreys are thought to have been the first breeding pair to nest in England for more than two centuries.

Their arrival last year was greeted with excitement and 25,000 people visited the special viewpoint at Dodd Wood, near Keswick.

When the ospreys return in mid-April, the forest viewpoint will reopen and the images beamed to Whinlatter.

24-hour protection

The Big Brother-style surveillance has been made possible by a 21,000 donation from English Nature.

Nathan Fox, from the Forestry Commission, told BBC Radio Cumbria, the new facility should stop bird-watchers blocking local roads.

"Hopefully, by providing the pictures at Whinlatter, we will draw people up here and take pressure off the more sensitive areas of the National Park.

"We are just keen for people to come back and share our experiences."

The pictures beamed from the nest will also help staff monitor the birds and protect the nest.

Click here to go to BBC Cumbria
See also:

23 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Rare osprey photo call
11 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Ospreys nest in England again
01 Aug 00 | UK
'Solar-powered' ospreys
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