Oldest osprey’s eggs fail to hatch

Today (07/06/2011), staff at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve and Visitor Centre have announced that the three eggs laid in April by the UK’s oldest known breeding female osprey (‘the Lady of the Loch’) have failed to hatch.

Thought to be at least 26 years old, the bird returned for the 21st consecutive year to the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in March and subsequently laid the eggs, bringing the total laid by her over these years to 61.

Staff at the reserve were hopeful that the eggs would prove to be fertile and that the chicks would have hatched by late May, making the resident female osprey a mother for the 49th time. It’s believed, however, that a combination of the bird’s age and the recent bad weather may have had an impact this year.

Anna Cheshier, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Perthshire Ranger, said:  “We were optimistic about a successful hatching for the osprey, known by many as ‘Lady’, this year but sadly all three of the eggs have failed to hatch.

“Ospreys live an average of eight years and are estimated to produce 20 eggs during that time.  It’s incredible then, that this individual osprey is now around 26 years old and has produced 61 eggs in her lifetime. Unfortunately, it may be that her age has affected the fertility of the eggs this breeding season. We have also had terrible weather at the reserve, which inevitably puts the eggs at greater risk.

Due to the failure of this year’s clutch to hatch, the Scottish Wildlife Trust is unable to progress plans to satellite tag the emergent chicks in 2011. However, preparatory works for the tagging and tracking were already underway and this investment will feed in to re-launch of the project when the next years’ brood hatches. All monies donated in support of the satellite tagging project are held as a restricted fund and will only be used for this purpose.  

Cheshier continued: “It does mean that we will need to delay our project to satellite tag osprey chicks too, which was planned for them fledging and migrating to West Africa in August.  But, we haven’t written off our amazing osprey being a mother again just yet, as we hope to have more chicks hatching during the breeding season in 2012 and believe with ‘Lady’ anything is possible. All going well next year, we will continue with the project.

“In the meantime, the pair of ospreys are likely to remain in the area and make for an early migration when the season dictates.”

Wildlife enthusiasts across the globe have also been following the breeding season online thanks to a dedicated blog and nest cam which streams live from www.swt.org.uk.  

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has launched a special membership offer to celebrate the return of this incredible female osprey.  Every new supporter who signs up to become a member of the charity during this year’s osprey season will receive an exclusive photograph of the osprey with their membership pack. 




Nadine Reilly or Jackie Shuttleworth, Stripe Communications on 0131 561 8628 or swt@stripecom.co.uk       

Notes to Editors


1.      Stock still images and high definition footage of the osprey are available.  Please contact Scottish Wildlife Trust’s PR Office with requests.

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Today (07/06/2011), staff at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve and Visitor Centre have announced that the three eggs laid in April by the UK’s oldest …

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