Ospreys take to the air in Rutland

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The Independent Online
Five young ospreys have been released at Rutland Water, Leicestershire, one of Britain's biggest reservoirs, in the hope that the rare fish-eating eagles will begin breeding there.

Ospreys have not raised any young in England since 1842, due to persecution by man. After a long absence in Scotland they began to nest there again in 1954, and the population north of the border now stands at 100 breeding pairs.

A few young birds have visited Rutland Water on their way back to Scotland from wintering in West Africa. The local wildlife trust and Anglian Water built artificial nests in the hope of persuading them to stay, but in vain. In a further attempt to establish the birds, seven chicks were taken from nests near Inverness last month, with the permission of Scottish Natural Heritage, and brought to Rutland.

Five of the birds have taken to the air so far but one of these has been found dead. After nervous starts, the other four flying birds have been learning to fish, diving at high speed into the water.

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