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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 May 2006, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Hat-trick of chicks for ospreys
Osprey nest - from the RSPB's webcam
The RSPB have set up a webcam for people to view the chicks
A third osprey chick has hatched from a nest in north Wales.

Watched by "cheering and clapping" bird enthusiasts, the chick emerged on Monday joining its older relations, which hatched on Thursday and Saturday.

The parent ospreys, a bird of prey once almost hunted to extinction, are the only breeding pair in Wales.

The RSPB said the three chicks were being sheltered from the rain by their mother in their nest in the Glaslyn valley, Gwynedd.

Emyr Evans, RSPB Cymru osprey officer, said around 20 "thrilled" visitors had watched live footage beamed from the "nest cam", of the osprey chick emerging on Monday afternoon.

"They were all cheering and clapping when the female stood up at around 4pm to reveal the third chick," he said.

"The male will be extremely busy now with three more hungry mouths to feed.

"He has already brought back four fish today and this will increase over the next few weeks because as the birds grow, so will their appetites."

OSPREY FACTS
Osprey (RSPB)
Scientific name: Pandion haliaetus
Wingspan: 5ft
Sexual maturity: Three to five years
Diet: Mainly fish, particularly perch, pike, and trout

The two already-hatched chicks arrived on 18 and 20 May.

The RSPB said their father has now nested in north Wales for three consecutive years, identified by an orange ring on his right leg.

They also said the chicks would be ringed in five or six weeks time so they could be identified as Glaslyn birds for the 2006 breeding season.

It is not known if the female is a returning Glaslyn osprey.

In early July the chicks will be expected to fledge before spending time learning how to fish with their parents. The chicks will then leave for Africa.

The viewing site at Pont Croesor near Porthmadog is manned by RSPB staff and volunteers and more than 14,000 have visited since April to see the ospreys.

Protection

Last year, an osprey pair hatched two chicks from three eggs.

Ospreys first bred in Glaslyn in 2004 but all their eggs were lost when high winds blew their nest to the ground.

In Victorian times, the fish-eating osprey was hunted almost to extinction in Britain by gamekeepers and fishermen.

Scotland remains a stronghold for the species and birds were taken from there as chicks to other parts of the country in the hope they would breed.

While the bird remains an amber list species, which means it still needs protection for numbers to recover, the RSPB are confident ospreys can do well in Wales.

In 2004, an osprey chick fledged at another, secret location in mid Wales - the first on record in Wales.

The Glaslyn Osprey Project is partly funded by the European Union's Objective One programme.




SEE ALSO:
Second osprey chick hatches out
12 Jun 05 |  North West Wales


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