Intruding ospreys

Over the last couple of weeks at Loch of the Lowes there have been a lot of what we like to call “intruding ospreys”. As seen in the video below, NC0 still has a bit of learning to do when it comes to defending her nest.

Where do these ospreys come from and why do they keep coming to our nest?

Many of these ospreys do not have a leg ring, so it is impossible to know exactly where they come from. It can be assumed that they probably hatched from somewhere in Scotland, perhaps even a nearby nest. This is because instinct drives ospreys to return to their natal area.

Ospreys spend the first couple of years in West Africa, usually making their first return migration at the age of 2 or 3. At this stage they are looking for a suitable nest site and a mate. Although at 2 years old, they usually arrive too late to breed that year, they will still be searching for a suitable area to breed in following years.

Occasionally we do get one of our pairs’ previous offspring returning to the nest, for example in 2019 we were lucky enough to see the return of PH1 who fledged in 2017. This shows us the importance of our ringing efforts when it comes to following and monitoring our ospreys’ movements.

On 9th April this year we were able to record the ring number from an intruding osprey. This individual osprey was ringed in the Highlands in 2017. At 4 years old, this osprey may still be looking for a mate and nest of their own.


Is there a chance that the resident female could be driven off the nest by an intruder?

The resident female would usually do all she can to defend her nest. As many of you may know, NC0 is a young osprey who is still finding her wings. We are hoping that she will become more adept at defending her nest as she matures. When she is incubating eggs and looking after young, the male will chase away any intruders coming towards the nest. As an incredibly experienced osprey who has returned for his 10th breeding season at Loch of the Lowes, LM12 is doing a great job of protecting the nest.

We look forward to welcoming our visitors back in May so they can enjoy watching these events unfold in person! Booking is highly recommended so visit our website to book your tickets.

Amy Bastow
Visitor Centre Assistant

The Trust’s Osprey Protection Programme at Loch of the Lowes is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Help protect Scotland’s wildlife

Our work to save Scotland’s wildlife is made possible thanks to the generosity of our members and supporters.

Join today from just £3 a month to help protect the species you love.

Join today


Over the last couple of weeks at Loch of the Lowes there have been a lot of what we like to call “intruding ospreys”. As seen in the video below, …

Posted in

Blogs -

Stay up to date with the Scottish Wildlife Trust by subscribing to our mailing list Subscribe now

Back to top