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Scotland’s Ospreys: Into the future

Posted by on in Highland Perthshire
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Currently our osprey pair are sitting on three eggs, we can see that the female is feeling the heat up in the nest as she is panting in an attempt to cool down.

At Loch of the Lowes we are very lucky indeed to host a consistently successful breeding site for ospreys.

Ospreys tragically became extinct in Britain in 1916 due to negative human influences such as being persecuted for taking fish stock, egg collecting and the use of feathers for fashion. Miraculously, a natural re-colonisation occurred from the Scandinavian population of ospreys in 1954, (Loch Garten) which was also the year of the first successful breeding.

A tentatively slow process, the next recorded breeding didn’t occur until 1959 and after another 10 years only four pairs were recorded breeding in Britain. By 2003 there was estimated to be around 162 breeding pairs, with the Highlands and Tayside area representing major strongholds. Estimated numbers now sit at around 250 pairs for the whole of Britain, which is remarkable considering it was only 62 years ago when our first pair returned to breed in Scotland.

We have followed our resident pairs throughout the years, from the first nesting in 1969 to our current, very dedicated osprey parents. Our current pair LM12 and LF15 (Lowes Male 2012 and Lowes Female 2015) successfully managed to rear three young to fledging last year, two of which were satellite tagged, with all three being ringed. Both birds worked together extremely well, even displaying possibly new behaviours, with the male being seen feeding the female on several occasions.

It is due to support from our members and visitors that we have been able to monitor the nest so closely over the years, and watch 72 young fledge from our nests over the years. Your generosity allows us to fund Species Protection Officers to watch over the ospreys 24/7, provide accommodation for them to stay in while they are working extremely chilly night shifts, as well as implement special technical equipment which allows people from all over the world to view our beautiful birds.

We at Scottish Wildlife Trust are very proud to be involved with such a successful conservation story. Ospreys are making a truly remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction, but there is still a long way to go to safeguard their future in Britain. There remains fewer ospreys than golden eagles, but with your continued support, these beautiful birds could become abundant in Britain once more.

Keep an eye on the webcam and blog for the imminent hatching of our three eggs! Due date is estimated to be from around the 19th of May onwards.

Laura

Visitor Centre Assistant

Original author: jonathan
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