Plans to reintroduce ospreys to Ireland will go ahead this summer with the arrivals of 12 chicks in July.
The reintroduction programme is being led by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), coming after ospreys became extinct here approximately 150 years ago.
The programme has spent a number of years in research and planning phases, with the arrival of the chicks later this year marking a significant milestone in the project.
It is hoped the reintroduction programme will establish a viable, free-ranging osprey population in Ireland which will eventually breed here. Over the next five years, it is planned that between 50 and 70 chicks will be brought to Ireland from Norway as part of the project.
Ospreys tend to be 50-60cm in length and have a wingspan of 145-170cm.
The programme is being headed up by NPWS divisional managers Dr Phillip Buckley and Eamonn Meskell, who were also involved in the successful white-tailed eagle reintroduction programme.
“We are extremely grateful to the authorities and colleagues in Norway for supplying the young ospreys, and for their expertise which is enabling this landmark conservation programme to happen,” Dr Buckley said.
“Likewise to the farmers and landowners involved and also to many others from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Britain, elsewhere in Europe and indeed internationally who are providing expertise or helping with this work; their help is critical and much appreciated,” he added.