It’s been nearly 48 hours since the new unidentified female osprey arrived at Loch of the Lowes, and she certainly hasn’t wasted any time settling in. Despite some rather regular hostility from our male she has not been put off and has firmly stood her ground in the nest.
Since we announced the arrival of this bird, we have received many enquiries asking “How do we know it’s not Lady? “ There are several key features and behaviours that we look for, and after careful examination of our High Definition footage, we know with certainty that this is a new female.
- Soon after this bird first landed on the nest, it became apparent that she was slightly anxious and didn’t appear comfortable in her surroundings, suggesting that they were perhaps new to her.
- Our male has also been displaying some interesting behaviour which suggests he is not familiar with this bird. His frequent mantling (hunched shoulders and spread wings) is a defensive gesture, indicating he is not entirely settled yet with this female. These displays are not what we would expect to see if this bird was Lady, as ospreys do form strong pair bonds with their mate.
- The pattern and colours of the bird’s feathers are another clue which can help us identify individuals. Lady is known to have a full dark brown neck band (pictured left) whereas this current female’s chest is much lighter and more patchy in places (pictured right).
- The most unique feature of our veteran osprey is the distinctive dark marks visible in her left eye. Our high-tech camera allows us to zoom in to reach incredible details, and you can clearly see below the differences between the eyes of the two females. Whilst Lady’s eye (pictured left) has many dark patches within the yellow iris, the new female (pictured right) has a very clear and sharp yellow iris.
Since yesterday the male has started to provide fish to the female on the nest, and has been bringing her substantial catches with brown trout on this morning’s menu. This is a sign of acceptance and willingness to provide for her, essential if the pair is going to have a successful breeding season. Whilst this new female appears to be here to stay, there is still every possibility that Lady could return, so over the next few days keep your eyes on our webcam and blog to see how this story unfolds.