The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s team at Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire is expecting an early Easter treat, in the form of osprey eggs!
Watched over by Trust staff, volunteers and a global audience of webcam watchers, the breeding pair of ospreys at the reserve reunited last month for their third season together. The female osprey, known as NC0, could lay her eggs any day now.
Despite living entirely separate lives for most of the year, osprey pairs form close bonds and quickly settle into familiar patterns. Teamwork is vital for the survival of the species.
The female needs to incubate her eggs around the clock for several weeks for them to successfully hatch. The chicks then have just a couple of months to grow into birds that are capable of flying over seas and deserts to West Africa – a journey of 3,000 miles. During this time the female and her chicks are reliant on an increasing number of fish being diligently delivered to the nest by the male.
Ospreys have made a remarkable comeback thanks to the efforts of conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust. A total of 85 osprey chicks have fledged from Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve since 1969.
Ospreys were extinct in the UK as recently as the 1950s and while there are now around 300 pairs in the country these birds are still in recovery. They remain rarer than golden eagles.
One of the greatest threats to this recovery is disturbance from people coming too close to their nests. Ospreys need to incubate their eggs around the clock, but any disturbance can cause these sensitive birds to leave their eggs out in the open, with potentially disastrous consequences.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre is open seven days a week from 10:30am – 5pm. A live webcam ensures people from all around the world can keep up with the ospreys during their breeding season.
On Thursday 28 April the Scottish Wildlife Trust is hosting Live from the Loch, a special online event supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. To book a place for this free event, visit scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/events
Image: Scottish Wildlife Trust