Four rare birds of prey, including ospreys, are now flourishing at “record” levels in the United Kingdom, according to new data.
Due to systematic persecution that spanned more than 150 years, the osprey, also referred to as the fish hawk, was approaching extinction along these coastlines.
Conservation Success and Population Growth
But numbers first increased in Scotland, and an expanding population in the East Midlands spread to Wales in 1996, after the breed was reintroduced to central England.
The Rare Breeding Birds Panel’s (RBBP) 48th annual report compiles breeding evidence for the rarest breeding birds in the United Kingdom by utilizing data provided by volunteers who report bird sightings to recording networks.
Record Populations and Conservation Efforts
Four uncommon birds of prey—the marsh harrier, the white-tailed eagle, the osprey—have reached their highest populations ever documented.
The panel received reports of 281 pairs of osprey in 2021, with a minimum of 232 of those pairs having laid eggs.
When the RBBP began compiling records in 1973, they knew only ten reproductive pairs, all located in northern Scotland.
However, as a result of conservation initiatives, the species has now established itself in Wales and expanded southward into northern England, breeding in every mainland county of Scotland.
Breeding Range Expansion and Successful Seasons
The osprey has expanded its breeding range to include the East Midlands via Rutland Water and the Dorset coast as a result of reintroduction initiatives.
The findings of the report indicate that 2021 was also a favourable breeding season for uncommon herons, such as the cattle egret and great white egret.
However, an additional uncommon predatory avian, the Montagu’s harrier, has encountered less fortunate circumstances.
A solitary male demonstrated consistent endeavours to mate, and no documentation existed regarding any females.
Rare Breeding Birds Panel secretary Dr. Mark Eaton said, “Since 1973, when the organisation became independent and non-profit. We have monitored and reported on the populations of the rarest breeding birds in the United Kingdom.”
Our work assists in the direction of conservation efforts for these animals by determining which species require assistance the most.