Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 15:35 UK

Osprey chicks successfully hatch

Two pairs of ospreys have successfully hatched chicks near Rutland Water.

The birds of prey returned there after wintering in west Africa at the end of March and have been incubating their eggs since April.

Now five chicks have hatched after volunteers maintained a round-the-clock vigil to ensure the nests stayed safe.

Altogether 18 young ospreys have been raised there since they started breeding there in 2001 and some of those have returned to breed.

So with any luck these five chicks will be back here at Rutland Water in a few years time to raise families of their own
Tim Mackrill, project officer

Project officer Tim Mackrill said this year could be the "best year yet".

He said: "They'll grow incredibly quickly because in just a few months time they've got to fly 3,500 miles down to west Africa.

"So with any luck these five chicks will be back here at Rutland Water in a few years time to raise families of their own."

More than 150 volunteers monitored the nests to ensure no eggs were stolen by collectors.

One of them, Mick Ward, who spent 14 nights doing so, said: "It's a real privilege to be involved with such an exciting project and extremely rewarding to feel that you have made a contribution to the protection of these fantastic birds.

"I certainly don't mind sacrificing a few nights' sleep to do it".

The birds of prey were all but wiped out in England in the 19th Century but they did survive in Scotland.

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Osprey project officer Tim Mackrill shows footage of the chicks being fed



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