AN initiative to see the first ospreys breed in Yorkshire for over 100 years is underway.

Following sightings of ospreys, which can have a wing span of 1.5 metres, fishing in lakes and rivers around the Wensleydale area last year, two specially constructed nests have been erected in a bid to aid the natural recolonisation of the species to the area.

It is hoped the birds will use the nests – specially constructed platforms high up in the trees, finished with sticks, moss and grass - and re-colonise the area, where they were once prevalent.

The nests have been put up as part of a wider osprey conservation project run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) with support from local landowners.

Now in its fourth year, the project has seen marked success in the Lake District, where ten nest sites are being maintained and monitored. Growing the project into the Yorkshire Dales is part of the natural progression for the revival of ospreys in the UK. In May, 2015, an osprey was spotted near Kilnsey.

Mike Thornley, one of BASC North’s regional officers and osprey co-ordinator, said during last summer a few of the birds were regularly seen around the Wensleydale area, fishing in lakes and the river Ure, and sightings of ospreys have been increasing over the past few years.

He said: “Now that these birds have been spotted in the area, we are hopeful we can have them breeding in Yorkshire, something they have not done for over 100 years.

“These nests imitate a natural osprey nest to give an instant attraction to this fabulous large iconic raptor. Most birds are site-faithful and if they return safely from their impressive migratory journey, our nests are readily taken up.

“The exact locations of the nest are remaining secret to reduce disturbance and give the returning ospreys the best chance of success. With the first ospreys returning to the UK in the last couple of weeks, we are hopeful that the nesting sites will lure new pairs to where they can attempt to breed for the first time.”

For more information about BASC’s Osprey Project, visit or email