A hungry afternoon for our female osprey and her chick at the Loch of the Lowes today- despite two fish delivered by the male this morning, the pair were hungry all this afternoon. Our female did not waste any time shouting at her partner to encourage him to provide. There were two failed fishing attempts by him in view of the hides today, and after one, the female must have thought he’d been successful as she gave him a real earful.
The male was busy elsewhere though, chasing off two osprey intruders- these birds were fishing on the loch, and though they did not approach the nest, he gave chase till they had left his territory.
The chick has been panting a lot at times today- perfectly normal way of relieving heat in a bird that cannot sweat and cannot yet take a dip to cool down.
We’ve had lots of questions recently about our chick and the other eggs. Some of these have been covered before (please check our FAQ tab and scroll down the blog) but here’s a recap:
Q: Will the Loch of Lowes chick be ringed?
A: Yes at six weeks of age or so (mid July) we have organsied for our local Raptor Study Group experts to ring this chick. The chick will be removed from the nest for approx 20 minutes to be weighed, measured, sexed and health checked , before being returned to its mothers care.
Q: Will it be satellite tagged?
A: yes, due to the overwhelming support we received for this scientific research project into osprey migration, and generous donations from the public, we will again be following this chicks fate on its perilous first years journeys using satellite tracking technology. We have asked Roy Dennis, the foremost raptor researcher in the UK to do this for us at the same time as the ringing. For more information on satellite tracking see the FAQ pages above.
Q: Do you intend to get a licence to remove the unhatched eggs for examination and will you be telling us if the other 3 eggs were fertile?
A: Yes, we have a license that will allow us to remove the unhatched eggs for analysis when we approach the nest to ring the chick ( We will not disturb the birds before then). When these are examined we should be able to tell if they were ever fertilised or if embryos inside died during incubation (possibly due to exposure).
Q: You mentioned you have had to rescue an osprey chick which has fallen out of the nest, what happened?
A: In a previous ranger position where I worked with Ospreys, I was in charge of monitoring nests with remote cameras, and a six week old chick stood too close to the edge of the nest, stepped backwards, and accidentally fell off. Using the camera, I was able to see it had fallen into very deep bracken at the base of the nest tree. It called frantically, and its mother called frantically back, but it was unable to spread its wings out to get airborn (and too weak yet to fly really anyway). After giving it an hour or so, I decided to intervene as the chick would surely have been predated sitting on the ground unprotected, or would have died slowly of starvation as its parents were unable to reach it.
I managed to pick the chick up (I still have the scar on my hand!) and put it safely in a box, feed it and keep it hydrated, after checking for any obvious injuries. I then called in expert help, in the form of a specialist Forestry Commission Scotland climber, who helped put the chick back in the nest safely before nightfall. The female osprey circled over us the whole time calling to her chick but made no attempt to attack us- this is typical of these birds. I should stress that the decision to intervene was made only after checking I had legal permissions and on the basis that this was a situation that could be remedied quickly and easily without compromising any other ospreys in the process. You will be glad to know that the chick went on to fledge successfully about 10 days later and was none the worse for its adventure.