New man – or bird – on the block?

 

One of the osprey super dads in Kielder Water & Forest Park may be a new bird according to evidence spied by eagle-eyed rangers and volunteers.

The bird has fathered a healthy chick this year in the 62,000 hectare Northumbrian wilderness after turning up at the tree top nest in April to mate with the female, both fresh from their winter migration.

Because ospreys are faithful to each other and their nests experts concluded that it was a romantic reunion for the couple, responsible for producing the first osprey chicks born in the North East for at least two centuries in 2009 and offspring every year since.

But not all is as it appeared.

After carefully studying CCTV nest footage beamed live to Kielder Castle and Northumbrian Water’s Leaplish Waterside Park it has emerged that the male has rings on his leg – the original bird did not.

Martin Davison, Forestry Commission Ornithologist, explained:

“We can’t be absolutely certain, but it does seem very likely that the female has mated with a new bird. Last year she was buzzed by a male interloper who she chased away while her mate was on a hunting trip. So perhaps it is this bird that has taken up residence. That begs the question what happened to the original male? It’s most likely he died sometime between leaving Kielder last September to migrate to sub-Saharan Africa and making the return journey. If that is the case it is very sad, but also reassuring that another male has stepped in so quickly to continue the osprey success story at Kielder.”

Backing up the ‘new man’ theory is that volunteers on the Kielder Osprey Watch 2012 have noticed that the male’s behaviour seems different this summer, preferring a different perching location..

Footnote: Kielder Osprey Watch 2012 is being organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water & Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the nest site. Regular updates on the fate of the ospreys are being posted by volunteers at http://kielderospreys.wordpress.comand at the VisitKielder Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kielder. You can also get Twitter updates @KielderOspreys