A bird of prey that hasn’t bred in southern Britain for two centuries ‘due to human persecution’ is set to return thanks to a program that started in Poole five years ago .
The Poole Harbor Osprey reintroduction programme, which is run by charities Birds of Poole Harbor and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, received a boost this week when a male and female Osprey returned safely during their migration from West Africa and settled on a nest platform at a secret location in the area.
The pair, known as CJ7 and 022, first met last summer, despite the male being too young to breed.
However, they have now returned early enough that there is a good chance of breeding this summer, which could be the first time in southern Britain for nearly 200 years.
Meanwhile white-tailed eagles, which have not bred in England for nearly 250 years, began showing up regularly in Poole Harbor in September last year with a young male called G461 starting to explore and call the port home.
The eagles, which have an eight-foot wingspan, originated from the Isle of Wight reintroduction program run by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England.
G461 has been regularly seen at sites such as RSPB Arne, Brownsea Island and on public birding boat trips.
Following the reintroduction of white-tailed eagles and osprey to southern Britain, both species are expected to establish breeding populations on the south coast over the next few years, which will not only help restore the species to its original range, but also bring significant economic benefits.
A report by RSPB Scotland found that bird-inspired tourism accounts for between £4.9m and £8m of spending each year on the Isle of Mull.
Birds of Poole Harbor said it hoped the south coast would similarly benefit.
Paul Morton, from the charity, said: “The last six months have been fascinating. Never in our wildest dreams would we have expected to see White-tailed Eagles regularly in Poole Harbour, but here we are, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of several teams, that dream has come true.
“Also, now having a pair of Ospreys back in port looking to establish territory is a perfect scenario.
“We are of course currently proceeding with our reintroduction of Osprey right here in Poole Harbour, another species which has not bred here for nearly 200 years due to human persecution, and with both ‘CJ7 and 022’ now safely, we are about to see them back where they should be.