BIRDS OF POOLE HARBOUR OSPREY PROJECT
Liv Cooper has one of the most unusual mothering roles in Purbeck. Liv lives near Wareham, but through summer months, she preps fish for osprey chicks on the shores of Poole Harbour. She and the team at the Birds of Poole Harbour Osprey re-introduction project, hope these chicks will make the area home. Ospreys haven’t nested or bred in Poole Harbour for nearly 200 years. Thanks to the project, that could all change in 2022.
A ringed female, CJ7, has caused a sensation. She was born in Rutland, 6 years ago, and mature birds tend to return to where they fledged. Unexpectedly, she has shown signs of wanting to breed around Poole Harbour. CJ7 is pushing the boundaries of what we know about Ospreys. Liv couldn’t be more surprised or excited, but she is equally delighted by the joy CJ7 has created locally and internationally.
Liv feels her deep connection to nature was in-built. Everything in nature has always felt honest and simple, she says. You can try to better understand what’s going on, but it’s always going to be bigger than us. She believes that feeling of wonder leads to a sense of calm.
Last year was a turning point for all sorts of reasons. Liv’s colleagues at Birds of Poole Harbour had placed a live webcam looking onto a nesting platform – not really knowing what it would reveal. During lockdowns, it became a source of delight for house-bound people everywhere; especially when it became clear CJ7 was showing interest in a male, 022. He had been released as a chick in the Harbour in 2019 and happily for the team, returned in May 2021 after his migration to West Africa. The webcam captured not just the remarkable sight of CJ7 laying (unfertilised) eggs, but unusual views of Tawny Owls and Nightjars that revealed the bird wealth in the area.
Liv and her colleagues work closely with local landowners and she is impressed by how open they have been to the prospect of a ‘Schedule 1’ bird species nesting on their patch. There is every good reason Ospreys should be here. Special animals should not just be corralled into parks or reserves, Liv believes; everyone deserves to have them on their doorstep. There are so many good things happening locally, says Liv. She hopes the many fantastic projects in Purbeck will come together – like pulling the cords of a bag – so that living and working more harmoniously with our surroundings will become the most natural thing to do.