Majestic birds hatch live on camera to a global audience

Webcams have captured footage of osprey chicks hatcing in a nest in the Lake District.
Webcams have captured footage of osprey chicks hatcing in a nest in the Lake District.
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A family of ospreys, complete with new-born chicks, is drawing in viewers from around the world as stars of their own 24-hour online show.

Rolling footage is being recorded and broadcast of the impressive fish-eating birds of prey during breeding time at Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District.

It did not take long after cameras were strategically sited for a pair of ospreys to chose the location to establish a towering 5ft nest made out of sticks.

The female, named KL, laid eggs in April and was recorded glowering straight down the camera alongside her male mate, called Unring. The first egg hatched on May 30 and it made for captivating scenes for those lucky enough to be tuned in.

Project manager Nathan Fox said: “We saw our first osprey chick of the season hatch between 7 and 7.30. Both KL and the male had been changing their behaviour and we thought at one point we might have seen some pipping in one of the eggs, and we were right.”

What started as an empty nest soon became a hub of activity as one-by-one, signs of life started to appear through tiny cracks in the eggs. Viewers around the globe watched on as three chicks emerged and took their first steps in life.

Like most fathers supporting their partner through labour, Unring found ways to keep himself busy - shredding hunks of moss for the chicks’ bedding and taking on the hunter-gatherer role for the family by bringing fish to feed his young.

It is the 14th year that ospreys have been bred at Bassenthwaite Lake, often using nests that have been previously occupied.

The family is expected to remain in the nest until August, when it is thought they will take flight independently and migrate to destinations as far as Africa.

Meanwhile, there is hope for the country’s most threatened bird of prey, the harrier hen. Several pairs are nesting in England, including in Lancashire, according to the RSPB.

Last year, the birds failed to nest successfully in England for the first time since the 1960s, leaving the bird on the brink of extinction nationally, the RSPB said, but there is now one active nest on the United Utilities Bowland Estate in Lancashire where a pair is currently raising chicks, while a second nest on the estate has a female sitting on eggs. A third pair are nesting at another location in England.

To watch the Bassenthwaite Lake ospreys in action, visit www.ospreywatch.co.uk