Tragedy for ospreys in Scotland

A well-known osprey nest in the Cairngorms has failed.

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Two of the chicks hatched and were fed before Odin disappeared

Two of the chicks hatched and were fed before Odin disappeared © RSPB

 

Three osprey chicks hatched in a nest at RSPB Loch Garten, but webcam footage shows they have died.

Their parents, named EJ and Odin by staff, braved the snow in April to incubate the eggs, but have not managed to successfully rear their offspring.

It is thought that Odin (the male) was frightened off by a rival male, causing the three chicks to die at only a few days old due to a lack of food.

RSPB Scotland decided not to intervene in the natural process and described the news as “heart-breaking”.

EJ feeds for the first time in four days, following the death of the chicks © RSPB

EJ and Odin are the most successful breeding pair at Loch Garten, having raised 17 chicks together.

The female has successfully reared a total of 25 chicks at the reserve in the last 15 years with Odin and other mates. 

This isn’t the first time she has encountered trouble rearing her chicks. Other incidents have included eggs being kicked out of the nest by other ospreys, and run-ins with rival females over the nest.

EJ will remain in the area to defend her territory as ospreys are site-faithful, likely until mid-August when she would normally migrate.

If Odin returns, it will be too late for another mating attempt this year. If another male osprey moves in on her territory, she may start to form a bond with him in preparation for next year.

Read a blog post from RSPB Loch Garten about their decision to not intervene. 

 

Find out the best places to see osprey in the UK

Your 60 second guide to osprey fishing behaviour

 

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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