Ospreys are spectacular fish-eating birds of prey with a wingspan of nearly five feet. Find out more about ospreys with our Osprey Fact File.
Other Cumbrian bred Ospreys
As osprey numbers rise we can expect to see an increase in the number of pairs in Cumbria, although this is a slow process as only about three in ten naturally survive to adulthood.
For the last five years YW, our 2008 male chick, has bred successfully at Foulshaw Moss. Another of our male chicks has been breeding in South Scotland for a number of years.
In 2010, one of the 2007 Bassenthwaite chicks from bred with another un-marked osprey and laid eggs in South Cumbria. Unfortunately none of the eggs hatched, not unusual for young inexperienced osprey pairs. The pair were later seen on the coast nest building in late summer, known as frustration behaviour, often occurring after an unsuccessful breeding season.
An osprey believed to be another Bassenthwaite chick from 2007 was seen regularly around the Thirlmere area during 2010 but since then there have been no sightings.
- Leicestershire – Rutland Water,
- Scotland – Loch Garten and Loch of the Lowes
- Wales – Glaslyn
- Northumberland – Kielder
- South Lakes – Foulshaw
Ospreys in Cumbria
In 2001 a pair of ospreys nested beside Bassenthwaite Lake and became the first wild pair to breed in the Lake District for over 150 years.
The birds were encouraged to stay with the help of a purpose built nest provided by the Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park. This was the culmination of several years of hard work. Ospreys had been summering in the Lake District since the mid 1990’s and in 2001 they started breeding, immediately adding sticks to the nest.
Once the eggs were laid, wardens kept a round the clock watch to prevent disturbance and deter egg thieves. Ospreys usually lay three eggs, which take about six weeks to hatch. The young stay in the nest for seven or eight weeks. In late summer, the adult female will migrate south, leaving the male to feed the youngsters until they master the art of fishing.
Bassenthwaite Lake is a National Nature Reserve, owned and managed by the Lake District National Park. Most of the surrounding woodland is managed by Forestry England and provides valuable habitats for wildlife.
Although the UK osprey population doubled during the 1990s, and has steadily increased since then, ospreys remain the fourth rarest bird of prey in the UK. Their eggs are still at risk of being stolen by collectors and they are easily disturbed by human presence. If water quality deteriorates, a reduction in fish could have a dramatic effect on the number of young birds raised. As ospreys migrate, they are also vulnerable to habitat changes across southern Europe and Africa and risk being shot by hunters.