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The chicks are coming thick and fast at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld.
Osprey Watch volunteers got their first glimpse of the second chick of the season just after midnight this morning (20 May). It follows soon after the first , which hatched on Wednesday afternoon.
The two chicks have both fed successfully and look healthy. There is still one egg in the nest and it could hatch at any time over the weekend.
Charlotte Fleming, Perthshire Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “We noticed a small hole in the second egg yesterday afternoon and knew that the chick wouldn’t be far away. It was great to see it when LF15 stood up briefly just after midnight.”
“LF15 and LM12 are proving to be good parents again this season as the chicks are being fed and well cared for in the nest. We’ll be watching and waiting for the third chick to hatch out in the next few days.”
Osprey chicks are covered in down, but start to grow new feathers within days. They grow very quickly and are ready to fly after seven to eight weeks. This rapid growth is fuelled by a high protein diet of pike, trout and other fish brought to the nest by their attentive parents.
Hours before the second chick emerged its sibling received its first feed. The male osprey LM12 brought a huge salmon back to the reserve. After perching in a tree to devour the head it brought the food to the nest, where female LF15 enjoyed a brief meal before feeding its hungry chick.
Just after seven o’clock this morning the male brought in another fresh fish. The first chick managed some food but the second narrowly missed out. The female tried again around half past nine, and the second chick managed to feed successfully alongside its older sibling.
Once extinct in the UK, there are now around 240 breeding pairs of ospreys thanks to the efforts of nature conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, whose Osprey Protection Programme is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery said: “It’s fantastic news that the 80th egg has hatched at Loch of the Lowes and that the nesting pair of ospreys are bringing fish to the nest. I’m sure that visitors will be flocking to the Visitor Centre, and logging on to the webcam to see the chicks develop.”