Veteran osprey lays her first egg of 2010
Wednesday 14 April 2010
Britain's oldest breeding female osprey has produced her first egg of the season, wildlife experts confirmed yesterday.
The osprey returned to the Scottish Wildlife Trust's (SWT) Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve last month for the 20th year in a row, and has been spotted hunching over an egg by wildlife watchers logging on to a webcam positioned close to the nest.
The 25-year-old bird of prey has now produced 56 eggs in her lifetime, and has managed to rear 46 chicks. Most ospreys only live for an average of eight years and produce an estimated 20 eggs in that time, so the female is described by the trust as "a wonder of nature".
Her extensive experience has come in handy in helping her to train up her new, younger mate. According to the trust, the 10-year-old male – who is not the female osprey's usual partner – was "initially a bit confused" about his role as a prospective father.
Male ospreys provide food for the females as they sit on the nest, bring sticks to maintain its condition and protect it against other males. The female has been calling out repeatedly to show her displeasure, in a bid to get him to work harder at his duties.
Emma Rawling, the SWT Perthshire ranger appointed to protect the osprey during the breeding season, said conservationists at the reserve had been "jumping for joy" since they discovered the female had successfully bred again.
"The osprey faced persecution in the early 20th century and was very nearly driven to extinction by 1916," she said. "But our old girl seems determined to do her bit to help repopulate the species. This is the 56th egg she has produced, and so far 46 chicks have successfully fledged the nest over previous breeding seasons."
She said the bonding behaviour between the couple would increase now that an egg had been laid, but warned the relationship might not be all plain sailing.
"If the usual mate of our osprey returns we could witness a battle in the skies, as our resident male will try to chase away the young male and take his place in rearing any young," she said.
"However," she added, "as the days pass by it is becoming more likely that we won't see our resident male. We fear he has perished during the 3,000-mile migration from West Africa."
Every year ospreys migrate from Africa, arriving in the UK in March and April to breed, but little is known about the details of their journey. The SWT is raising money to buy a satellite tag for at least one osprey to track its fortunes once it leaves the reserve. There are estimated to be around 150 osprey pairs breeding in the UK, most of which are found in Scotland.
Thousands of people killed by extreme weather in 2015 as El Nino arrives to bring more chaos
The most stunning images of spider webs
Polar bears will die out if global warming is not reversed, US report finds
A spotter's guide to a wild orchid summer
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...