The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is set to reintroduce the osprey to Ireland this summer, according to Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien.

Responding to a recent parliamentary question from Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore, the minister said that the NPWS “is collaborating with colleagues in Norway to supply a small number of chicks”.

Minister O’Brien said that it is planned to release the chicks in the southeast of the country during the summer months.


The osprey was previously a common breeding species in this country but was driven to extinction through hunting by the 19th century.

According to BirdWatch Ireland, the large bird of prey is regularly seen today while migrating in the spring and autumn.

Efforts have been made to encourage the species to breed again in Northern Ireland.

The osprey can have a wing span of up to 6ft and feeds exclusively on fish, so is normally found near water including inland rivers and lakes as well as coastal estuaries.

The bird likes to nest at the top of tall trees and has been known to adapt to artificial nesting platforms.

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) said in a post on Twitter that it is “thrilled” to hear that NPWS is planning to reintroduce ospreys to Irish skies.


The osprey is the latest bird species to be reintroduced back into Ireland following on from white-tailed sea eagles and golden eagles.

The Irish White-tailed Sea Eagle Reintroduction Programme saw 100 young eagles released over between 2007-2011 in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry.

The second phase of the programme, being led by the NPWS, has resulted in 47 more birds being released at sites in Munster.

To date, over 40 white-tailed sea eagle chicks have fledged from nests in counties Kerry, Cork, Clare and Galway.

“The success of this programme has been bolstered by local landowners and farmers, without whose enthusiastic support in monitoring nest sites and care of birds the project could not have succeeded,” Minister O’Brien said.