IN a bid to attract ospreys to Arne, life-size decoys are being placed in manmade nests on the Purbeck nature reserve.

The RSPB is leaving no stone unturned in order to lure the fish eating birds of prey to nest around Poole Harbour.

Experts hope to con them by creating the illusion of birds already nesting, with life-sized polystyrene ospreys in manmade eyries, complete with white paint droppings.

The spectacular birds with a two-metre wingspan regularly visit the Purbeck reserve in the spring and autumn on their way back to their wintering grounds south of the Sahara.

Poole Harbour is the most important site in Dorset for the amber list species, where visitors enjoy incredible views of them perching on posts and trees.

However, if the experiment works and young male ospreys less than three years old and older females that may have lost partners are encouraged to breed, bird lovers would see them hunting, feeding and raising a family.

A nest is made of large sticks with moss, bark or grass acting as a soft lining. It is usually about six feet across and the artificial nests look similar.

Five nests have already been built in tall trees at Arne and two more have been added to another site in the harbour. Two ‘poly-ospreys’ were added to the nests this week.

“This is a really exciting experiment and one that has worked at other locations in Europe so we’re hopeful that before long we might just have some breeding ospreys of our own,” said Mark Singleton, Arne’s visitor manager.

“We have the world’s leading osprey expert, author and broadcaster Roy Dennis, on board, and ideal flora and fauna and hunting grounds nearby. So with all the right elements in place all we can do now is keep our fingers crossed.”

Their main UK stronghold is in Scotland but the birds would find the Dorset coastline perfect for hunting fish to snatch from the water with their talons.