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This majestic bird was once extinct in the UK – but now there are 100 in our skies

Ospreys were wiped out back in 1916. Against all odds, they’re back

Ella Doyle
Written by
Ella Doyle

There’s a hell of a lot of doom and gloom in the UK at the moment, as we all know. So it can be hard to find any nuggets of positivity in the internet abyss. But today, bird lovers of the UK, we have some much-needed good news.

Citizens of Northumberland who were lucky enough to spot a flying osprey this week were inadvertently looking at something quite remarkable. Yesterday the 100th osprey flew the nest, following a successful 13-year programme to get them back in the air after they were declared extinct more than a century ago.

Back in the day, ospreys used to be everywhere in the UK. But after years of being persecuted, they became completely extinct in 1847 in England and in 1916 in Scotland.

But in 2009, Kielder osprey chicks were introduced in Northumberland, and have been nurtured ever since to help them get back into the sky.

And on Wednesday this week, a brave lil’ chick called Fourlaws faced her fears and left the nest, becoming the 100th osprey to take to the skies since the programme started. She flew for 35 minutes, while ecologists snapped some pics. 

The figures for birds in the UK are pretty bleak – nine native species are now classed as threatened with global extinction, according to the RSPB, and many more are in decline. So massive props to groups like Forestry England trying to get endangered birds back in the sky. 

ICYMI: a ‘killer whale’ has just been spotted off the coast of Wales.

Plus: this spectacular technicolour artwork has just popped up on Hadrian’s Wall.

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