Without Any Human Coaxing, Once-Extinct Ospreys Return to Ireland

Sep 7, 2023

Ospreys were hunted to local extinction hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Now, a pair of the beautiful sea hawks have made a nest and had babies on the island. Best of all, the hatching of their two —  maybe three — chicks occurred on its own. No humans were involved in making it happen.

Giles Knight described the moment as "an absolute highlight of my 30-year wildlife career." Knight works for the Ulster Wildlife environmental farm scheme. “This is a huge conservation success story.”

Knight had kept the sighting of the parent ospreys a secret. He first saw them in 2021 in Northern Ireland. He did not want to disturb their chance to mate. 

Ospreys can be found on every continent except Antarctica. But in Britain, they’re on a list of declining species. Northern Ireland protects ospreys by law. They are sometimes seen there as they migrate between Scandinavia and Africa.

Ospreys mate for life and tend to nest in the same tree for decades. The Irish government is trying to bring the species back. In May, officials announced plans to bring as many as 70 osprey chicks to Ireland from Norway over the next five years.

The last recorded attempt by ospreys to nest in Ireland occurred in 1779. That's according to the Golden Eagle Trust.

In a statement, the nonprofit declared: “The ospreys have returned by themselves and restored another lost icon of the Irish landscape.”

Photo from Unsplash courtesy of Mathew Schwartz.

Reflect: Why do you think it's important to protect and help animals that are endangered or have disappeared from certain areas?

The story is mainly about _______. (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. the lifecycle of osprey chicks
b. the successful return of ospreys to Ireland
c. the different continents that ospreys are found
d. the migration patterns of ospreys
For more formative assessments, visit thejuicelearning.com to start a free trial.

News brought to you by The Juice

Start a free trial today