Osprey News 31st May: No Eggs Hatched- What Next?

So folks, the sad reality is that we do not have any hatched eggs on our osprey nest at Loch of the Lowes this year. With all the eggs now well past their normal incubation cut off dates ( all well over 40 days) , we have to accept the reality that, barring a miracle, we will not have chicks this year. Whilst sorely disappointing for us all , this is a natural phenomenon and something we will just have to accept.

We must remember that this is only the second time in 24 years that this female has failed to hatch chicks so this is not something we have seen often here. The last time was in 2011 so we don’t have a lot of precedent to go by, in terms of what to expect . What we must remember is that this is a great opportunity to study their behaviour and add to our osprey knowledge.

As one of our osprey watch volunteers said this afternoon, we should all focus on the fact that we have our beloved veteran female osprey here at all this year, and enjoy watching her because who knows if this will be her last year? We will all also be able to follow the osprey breeding season on other nests where many of our friends and colleagues at other UK sites on Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Forestry Commission reserves etc are having better luck than us this year!

Q: Why are you continuing the 24hr nest watch when there will be no chicks?

A: Whilst there as still eggs on the nest, there is still a risk from human eggs thieves ( who don’t care if they are rotten). Also, we believe the birds deserve to be left alone in peace to decide naturally when to give up incubating and the watch ensures they are not disturbed.

Q: How long will the birds continue incubating?
A: We don’t know- it could be a week, to could be a month. In 2011 is was 70 days.

Q: Are all the flies on the nest a sign the eggs are rotten?

A: The presence of flies in the nest is normal but there do seem to be a lot this year- but then the weather has been very warm.

Q: How long will the adults stay around the loch ? Will there still be ospreys to see?

A: In our experience, both the adult birds will stay here at Loch of the Lowes for the summer, fishing and visiting the nest etc. In 2011 they migrated just a little earlier than usual in August.

Q: If you don’t have any chicks this year, would you consider satellite tagging a chick from another location?

A: we already have contingency plans to tag an osprey chick from another local SWT reserve , but of course we will have to wait and see how things go on those nests too.

Ranger Emma




About rangeremma

Perthshire Ranger Scottish Wildlife Trust
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