Breeding season is underway in Perthshire.
A pair of ospreys have hatched two chicks during their breeding season at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire.
The female osprey, known as NC0, and her male partner, LM12, who both arrived back at their nest within six hours of each other on 17 March to start their fourth breeding season together, have now reached another key milestone in the year.
The first chick hatched from its egg on Saturday 13 May 2023 at 12:11 and was joined by its sibling in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Both hatchings were viewed on the Trust’s osprey webcam where people from around the world can watch activity live from the nest.
Perthshire Ranger, Sara Rasmussen is delighted that the osprey pair have got to the egg hatching stage of raising a new brood to boost Scotland’s osprey population.
She said: “There are so many momentous occasions during the osprey breeding season, including their successful arrival back to Scotland from an arduous migration, pairing up, breeding and laying eggs.
Two chicks successfully hatching is another fantastic milestone to celebrate.”
But the last week has not been without its dramas. Male bird LM12 is thought to have sustained an injury, perhaps after defending the nest from intruders such as another osprey, as he did not bring a fish back to the nest for more than three and a half days.
During the breeding season, male ospreys are responsible for bringing fish to the nest to sustain the female and the chicks, so this was very concerning.
Fortunately, on Sunday evening he returned to the nest with a fish and has since been seen bringing several other fish to the nest, so it can only be assumed that he is recovering well.
The female osprey was ringed as a chick near Loch Ness in 2016. She first bred in 2020 and has successfully raised five chicks with male, LM12. This will be the 12th breeding season for LM12 at Loch of the Lowes.
The Osprey Protection Programme at Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, with funds awarded by Postcode Planet Trust.
Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th Century. They began to recover in the 1960s and an estimated 300 pairs of ospreys now breed in the UK each summer. Most of these birds migrate to West Africa but some winter in Spain and Portugal.