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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 19:18 GMT 20:18 UK
Osprey chicks take flight
Osprey chicks in their Lake District nest
It is hoped the chicks will return to the Lake District
A pair of osprey chicks - the only ones to be born in England this year - have flown from their nest for the first time.

Birdwatchers looked on as the sibling chicks made their shaky maiden flight from their tree-top nest in Dodd Wood, near Keswick, Cumbria.

The first bird took the plunge from the nest, which overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake, on Saturday morning while the second left on Monday.

It is thought the birds are preparing to migrate to West Africa for the winter.


I predict over the next few years ospreys will be a familiar sight over the lakes of England

RSPB spokesman

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said the chicks - believed to be a male and a female - were improving their technique after a few crash landings.

He said: "They had never flown before so they were not exactly skilled flyers when they launched themselves.

"They will copy their parents and gradually they will learn how to catch their own fish but they learn pretty fast so by the time they leave Africa they will quite adept at osprey fishing."

Park wardens say they were confident the two chicks, and one born last year, will return to Cumbria in a few years' time to raise their own family.

Bird-cam

The RSPB spokesman added: "If they get through the first year [in Africa] there is a very good chance they will come back again.

"I predict over the next few years ospreys will be a familiar sight over the lakes of England."

The ospreys first nested at the lake last year and after giving birth to one chick, became the first to breed in England since the birds became extinct in the UK at the turn of the last century.

About 80,000 people have so far come to view the birds.

A nest web-cam run by the Lake District Osprey Project which will stay open until mid-September.


Click here to go to BBC Cumbria
See also:

20 Jun 02 | England
04 Apr 02 | England
23 Jul 01 | Science/Nature
11 May 01 | Science/Nature
01 Aug 00 | UK
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