Our birds have continued their courtship today and apart from a few squabbles over this mornings fish, things have been ‘happy’ and ‘calm’ on the nest. There have been successful matings and lots of nest building activity so things are looking good for the pair. The earliest we can hope for eggs to be laid would be next week- the usual is 7-10days from first mating, though we know from experience here it can be over two weeks!
Here is a wonderful photograph of the pair taken by Val gall from the hides:
Q: Do you keep “Lady” safe in a box in the office over the winter and let her out every spring- nothing else can explain her longevity!
A: This one raised a chuckle today amongst our team- I only wish I could! There are many theories to explain her longevity ( short stopping on migration, something in the Lowes water etc) but the truth is we really don’t know how she does it!
Q: Would an osprey eat dead fish or even canned fish?
A: Ospreys usually prefer their fish very fresh- they are not naturally carrion eaters unlike buzzards. However, in my experience with them in care ( in vets and rehab facilities) they can be persuaded to take dead fish and strips of tasty salmon or similar- especially young birds, if you feed them as their parents would.
Q: Is there a light in the nest at night- why is this different to last year?
A: We have had an infrared night-time camera for many years, but unfortunately last year this broke down early in the season. This year it has been replaced and there is small infrared lamp on the nest. Birds, like humans, have very poor infrared receptors in their eyes and so cannot see this light much at all. This is why looking across the loch at night you won’t see the nest light, but if you put special infrared night vision goggles on, it shows up well. We are 100% certain the light does not disturb the birds.
Q: I have heard of female ospreys breeding at age three so why do you say the Lowes female must have been at least four years old her first time?
A: You are correct that some ospreys have been recorded breeding at 3 years of age, but this is still considered rare. Most ospreys in fact do not manage to breed successfully at all their first year or two back in their natal country, and for many years the average age at first breeding has been quoted in scientific sources as 4 or 5 years. Of course you are also correct that as more study is done with ringing and satellite tracking, this scientific opinion many change- which is why more research is still so important.