A pair of osprey have laid an egg in Poole Harbour, Dorset. It is the first time osprey are known to have laid an egg in southern England since the mid-1800s. And wildlife expert Chris Packham described the event as “sensational”.

Credit: Birds of Poole Harbour


MOMENTOUS OCCASION

Charity Birds of Poole Harbour announced on 23 April that “CJ7 has just laid her first egg”. The female was paired with an osprey known as 022. And a clip shared by Birds of Poole Harbour shows the moment that 022 returns to the pair’s nest.

The charity says breeding pairs are believed to have become extinct in England in 1847. Although osprey have since made a come back across northern England, CJ7 and 022 are believed to be the first pair to lay an egg in southern England in nearly 200 years.

The project to reintroduce osprey to Poole Harbour began in 2017. After eight years of attempts to attract osprey using nesting platforms failed, wildlife conservationists decided to translocate birds from Scotland. Five six-week old chicks were transported from Scotland to Poole Harbour. CJ7 was born to a stable population in Rutland but started visiting Poole Harbour soon after the project began.

Birds of Poole Harbour said the past six years had “all been building [to] this very moment”.

“SENSATIONAL”

It wasn’t just the charity that was elated at the news, though. Wildlife expert Chris Packham shared a video congratulating the groups behind the project. He also said that “at 60 years old” he didn’t expect to “live to see ospreys breeding in the south of England”, and described it as “sensational”. 

Other key figures in wildlife conservation shared their congratulations too. The Roy Dennis Foundation, which helped translocate the young chicks to Poole Harbour in 2017, described the egg as an “important milestone”. Alistair Driver, director of Rewilding Britain, praised the team behind the project. And Dr Carol Treasure, a stalwart campaigner for animal-free medical testing, welcomed it as a “huge conservation success”.

EXPANDING THE POPULATION

Poole Harbour was chosen as an ideal southern England location for osprey breeding due to its location on the migration paths of many osprey. And the Roy Dennis Foundation says it is an important link between expanding populations in northern England, Wales, and central France.  There are also plans underway to translocate osprey to Suffolk.

You can watch CJ7 and 022’s nest via livestream on Youtube

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