New Forest birds of prey nest watch celebrates 10 years


Published Tuesday 22 March 2016

Visitors have had the privilege of watching the intimate lives of some of the New Forest’s most impressive birdlife over the last 10 years thanks to high tech video technology.

A Date with Nature in the New Forest uses ‘raptorcam’ technology to allow viewers to follow the lives of birds of prey such as buzzards and goshawks in their nests as they breed, hatch eggs, feed chicks and teach their young how to fly.

The project is based at the New Forest Reptile Centre, two miles south west of Lyndhurst off the A35, and is run by the RSPB, New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and Carnyx Wild. Last year saw over 21,000 people visit the centre to watch the drama unfold, and online coverage also proved popular.

In this 10th anniversary year, visitors will be able to share the highs and lows of the breeding season with birds of prey from Good Friday to early September. As well as being streamed online, the footage will also be on view daily between 10am and 4.30pm at the Reptile Centre, where staff and volunteers will be on hand to explain more about the birds’ behaviour.

Cameras have already been positioned high up in the tree canopy ready to capture footage of the birds of prey as they guard their eggs, with the chicks likely to appear in May.

Michael Lake, project officer for the RSPB, said: ‘With 2016 celebrating 10 years of watching A Date with Nature nest cameras at the Reptile Centre we have now upgraded to HD so the quality this year will be amazing.  We hope to show the lives of a buzzard or goshawk, or possibly even both but as it's wildlife we cannot know for certain yet as the birds may decide, for example, to move nests.

‘Every year we are able to show visitors the journey of the amazing birds of prey of the New Forest; from egg to first flight. People are used to seeing these magnificent birds soaring high in our skies; but we will show their life from a whole new angle.’

Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, Jim Mitchell, said: ‘Visitors can also discover how important the New Forest is for ground nesting birds, with an exhibition of models of the birds in their natural habitats.’

Richard Daponte, Recreation Ranger for the Forestry Commission, added: ‘Wednesdays in the school holidays are particularly good for younger visitors, as we run our Wild Wednesday’s free events, where there will be making  activities and family trails.’

A date with nature in the New Forest runs daily from 25 March to 4 September, 10am to 4.30pm. Entry to the Reptile Centre is free although donations for parking are welcome.

Watch live footage of the birds in their nests online at or


Notes to Photo Editor:

A female goshawk in the New Forest.

Notes to Editor:

About The RSPB

The RSPB is the country’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We also play a leading role in a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. Visit for more information.

The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

About the Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands and increasing their value to society and the environment.


About Carnyx Wild

Carnyx Wild specialise in getting close up footage of secretive species, an ‘Eye in the Nest’ for this project and then get those live pictures back to the Date with Nature HQ across the New Forest. From there it goes worldwide onto the internet.

Many years in the business using natural history field craft gained from producing broadcast films and combined with state of the art filming technology to keep everything in miniature around the nest, Carnyx Wild deliver a fascinating insight into the natural world around us.

In addition, Carnyx Wild host an informative internet blog on this project where the public can chat on the live imagery as it unfolds.

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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