A few days ago, our three young ospreys were ringed and this prompted queries regarding whether we would be fitting satellite trackers on them as well.
We will not be fitting satellite trackers. The main reasons are the large expense and relatively limited data collected by using the trackers.
After a tremendous effort by supporters to raise the funds to purchase 3 trackers, we have now used them all. Blue 44 (2012), was the first but his tracker stopped working within a few months. The next was the female Blue YZ (2013) who sadly died in Guinea Bissau. This tracker was retrieved, reconditioned and set ready to be used on future chicks.
In 2014, no chicks hatched at Lowes. Then, in 2015 we were thrilled to have 3 chicks on the nest – but we only had 2 trackers! So, while all three were ringed, one chick did not receive a tracker, FR2.
Our last new tracker and the reconditioned tracker were fitted on FR3 and FR4.
Of these, FR4 is believed dead in Senegal leaving FR3 as the only one still sending data.
Each tracker costs around £3,500, with a further running cost for the data collection of approx £1,000 per year, not to mention the large amount of man hours this takes up.
It has been a very interesting project and we now know for sure our Scottish ospreys migrate to West Africa during our winter. However, the cost versus the results for conservation do not justify the purchase of new trackers. Like many of you reading this, we have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the travels of these amazing birds.
Remember, you can still Follow FR3 in Gambia.
Visitor Centre Assistant, Loch of the Lowes