Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 17:19 UK

Three chicks for osprey arrivals

Kielder osprey nest
The ospreys have nested on an artificial platform

The first ospreys to nest successfully in Northumberland for more than two centuries have hatched three chicks.

A pair recently settled on a specially-built platform near Kielder Water, Europe's largest man-made lake.

Experts monitoring the nest from a distance using powerful telescopes to avoid disturbing them, spotted three chicks in the nest.

A viewing area has also been created for members of the public, and has already attracted hundreds of visitors.

Ospreys were once distributed widely, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916.

First-time parents

Some birds re-colonised Scotland in the 1950s and there are now about 200 breeding pairs.

It is thought the Northumberland pair is part of that population.

There are hopes that if the chicks are raised successfully, it will lead to ospreys repopulating the area.

Forestry Commission ornithologist Martin Davison said: "We reckon these are first time parents, probably about four years old, but even so they are doing a smashing job.

"A big cause of infant mortality amongst birds is lack of food, but the male has been out regularly swooping down on Kielder Water to bring the youngsters tasty fresh fish.

"We can't take anything for granted, but each day that passes the chicks grow stronger."

Print Sponsor

Ospreys return to Northumberland
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