A group of primary school children from Oxfordshire wrote to the Project asking some questions about the Manton Bay Ospreys. We answered those questions but as the questions were relevant to the life of the Ospreys and the Project we decided to put them on the website so everyone can learn more about how we re-introduced the Ospreys and basic information about them. I am currently on Work Experience here and I found the questions useful in building up my knowledge of the Ospreys.
When do you think the Osprey chicks will start flying?
The Osprey chicks will start flying very soon, hopefully before you finish school before the summer! They usually take their first flight when they are around eight weeks old.
How did you encourage the Ospreys back and why?
We translocated chicks- which means we took them from nests in Scotland and brought them down to Rutland Water and looked after them until they could look after themselves. This made them think Rutland was their home so they would come back after their first migration to West Africa. We wanted to bring them back to England as they had been extinct for over 100 years.
How long ago did you find the birds?
We first brought Osprey chicks to Rutland in 1997- that’s fifteen years ago!
How far will the Ospreys travel when they start to fly?
To begin with they fly very short distances- often to the perch or a nearby tree and back. As they get more confident they start to fly further and further away from the nest. Once they have been flying for four weeks around Rutland Water they are ready to fly to West Africa for the winter- three and a half thousand miles away!
Do the Ospreys fly to other places in the UK?
Yes, one of our Ospreys, now called Nora (you might see her on Springwatch) went to live in Wales. There are also Ospreys living in the Lake District and of course there are lots of Ospreys in Scotland.
What kind of fish do Ospreys eat?
At Rutland Water the Ospreys like to eat Trout and Roach but they will eat any kind of fresh or saltwater fish.
How often do the Ospreys catch fish?
Ospreys catch fish three or four times a day.
What time are the chicks usually fed?
The chicks are usually fed very early in the morning, around midday and in the evening.
How often and how many fish do the Ospreys catch each day?
Before the chicks hatch the male Osprey brings in two or three fish per day, after the chicks have hatched they catch up to five fish each day which is enough to feed the whole family.
How big can the Ospreys grow to?
Males can have a wingspan up to 166cm and up to 60cm tall. The females are slightly bigger than this with a wingspan of around 170cm and 62cm tall.
How long do Ospreys live for?
Ospreys live until they are around twenty years old. The oldest of the Rutland Ospreys is fifteen years old.
How big is the nest?
The nest is about one and a half metres wide and is called an eyrie. They build it up with sticks to make a huge bowl.
Will the chicks have the same feathers as the adults when they are older?
Yes the chicks will have the same kind of feathers as the adults when they are around eighteen months old. The chicks will develop their own colour patterns which will help us identify them.
How old will the chicks be when they leave the nest?
The chicks will be around twelve weeks old when they leave the nest to migrate to West Africa.
Have the Ospreys been introduced before?
The Ospreys were first introduced at Rutland Water in 1997, before this they had been extinct in England for more than one hundred years.
When were the chicks born?
The first of the Manton Bay chicks hatched on the 25th of May, the second hatched a couple of days later on the 27th.
What happened to the garden?
When the chicks were ringed Tim weeded the nest as they were going to grow very big and we wouldn’t have been able to see the chicks.
How big are the Osprey eggs?
They are the same size as the eggs you might have for breakfast!
How small are the chicks when they are born?
The chicks are so small you could easily hold them in one of your hands. Imagine how small they must be to be able to fit in an egg the same size as a chicken’s egg!
What would you do if one of the chicks fell out of the nest when the adults aren’t there?
The nest is like a giant bowl, the sides are very high so it is difficult for the chicks to fall out of the nest.
What are their names?
We don’t give the birds names like us; we call them by the number on their colour ring. This year’s chicks are 8F and 9F, the male is 5R and the female is just called “The Manton Bay female” as she doesn’t have a ring.
When will the chicks catch fish for themselves?
For at least two weeks after fledging the chicks will return to the nest for fish that are brought back by the adults. After two weeks the chicks become much better at flying and fishing and will start trying to catch fish for themselves.
How long do you think it will take for Ospreys to become a common sight in England?
It will take a long time because Ospreys return to the place where they were born. The males will always return to their natal place whereas females are more flexible and go wherever there is a male.
Will the two chicks split up or stay together?
The two chicks will split up once they leave Rutland Water to migrate to West Africa for the winter but before that they will stay together.
How old is the nest?
We placed the Manton Bay nest to encourage breeding and was put there in 1995.
How long did it take to build the nest?
Ospreys tend to use already made nests, but it would take them a whole summer to build one themselves.