KP0 has almost certainly left Loch of the Lowes on her migration south to West Africa. Her absence was noticed on Monday 22ND when the other chicks were seen on the nest calling out for fish. We would expect to see all chicks present in this situation, as they will happily accept ‘free food’ for as long as possible before having to make the effort themselves. The two remaining chicks are still preparing for migration and the male osprey is bringing in less and less fish for them, in an attempt to force them to fish for themselves. This will better prepare them for their long journey and help ensure their survival, so although it looks like the male is being cruel and ignoring his offspring, he is doing what is best for them in the long run.
Our ospreys will migrate to West Africa on their own and not as a family unit. This means that the young ospreys have to find their own way, despite never having made this journey before. While we are learning more and more about how the ospreys manage to navigate this huge distance, much of it remains a mystery. What we do know is that the birds use a combination of physical landmarks and being able to align with the Earth’s geomagnetic field to find their way. Unfortunately, between 40% and 60% of all young birds die in their first year, partly due to the treacherous migration and also having to adjust to living independently. Once the juveniles arrive in Africa, they will spend a couple of years there before migrating back to Europe in spring.
In other news, don’t forget about our next activity on the 27th August- Brilliant Bats! This exciting event involves a short presentation on the different species of bats likely to be found in Scotland. Following the talk, you can try your hand at bat detecting with our special devices that allow you to hear the sounds they make while hunting for food. Rangers will be on hand throughout the event to answer your questions about these remarkable and misunderstood animals. Booking is essential and prices are as follows: Adult £8, Concessions and Members £6, Child £3. Please wear warm outdoor clothes and bring a torch if possible.
Chris and Laura