The phantom menace

We have had several enquiries since the return of LM12 last Thursday asking whether or not it really is him.

At this time of year more ospreys are travelling north to claim territories and take a chance to claim a desirable nest, or even a new mate. There are also other osprey nests in the area and perhaps the ospreys we are seeing landing on our nest are those residents.

This can be a stressful time for our male who wants protect his mate and his nest, but this is quite natural. We have been watching our current resident male every year since 2012 and we have come to know his behaviour and plumage.

  • LM12 has wing tips that extend beyond his tail feathers
  • He is around 1/5 smaller than our female
  • He has a distinctive collection of brown feathers on the back of his head

While extra-pair copulation is possible, ospreys typically nest and mate faithfully. This is a selective advantage because of the enormous amount of effort needed to successfully raise and fledge a healthy brood of chicks. For this reason, we are confident that LF15 is only mating with LM12.

Today around 11:30 am was a good example of an intruder landing on the nest and again later today LM12 chased off another three ospreys. Proving he is determined to protect his mate and nest, this is a exciting test of his fitness as a breeding male.

We are pleased that we are seeing more ospreys passing as this could be a good indication for a successful osprey season in Scotland.

Our ospreys also react to other intruders such as buzzards, crows and herons. At this time you will hear the alarm calls from LF15 and observe LM12 displaying a behaviour known as mantling. This is when we see him hunching his shoulders and opening his wings. This behaviour is also observed when an osprey is protecting their catch.

LM12 mantling on the nest in 2015.

 

Rachael Hunter, Perthshire Ranger

Emma Castle-Smith,Visitor Centre Assistant Manager

 

 

 

 

Preface

We have had several enquiries since the return of LM12 last Thursday asking whether or not it really is him. At this time of year more ospreys are travelling north …

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