Osprey braves snow to incubate eggs

Female bird of prey chooses to stay on nest, despite bad Scottish weather.

EJ-igloo-_623-a45aa32

The breeding season started as usual for a pair of ospreys known as EJ and Odin in Scotland.

Advertisement

But following heavy snowfall on 24 April, and consistent flurries since, the female (EJ) remained on the nest as the snow built up around her to incubate three eggs. 

Her commitment has impressed staff and volunteers at RSPB Loch Garten Osprey Centre.

“I’ve worked at the centre for 10 years and I just can’t remember the snow ever being so bad!” said Julie Quirie, retail manager of the centre.

“Poor old EJ does look pretty miserable … but this is her fifteenth season here at Loch Garten and she’s used to the worst of the Scottish spring weather.”

EJ20in20snow202520April202017202-7a24433

EJ in the snow © Jess Tomes/RSPB

To date, EJ and Odin have successfully raised 17 chicks, and the incubated eggs are expected to hatch in mid-May.

“Ospreys are really good mums,” said Roy Dennis, an ornitholigist who has worked with ospreys.

“Most of them will have snow on their nests today. It looks bad, but half a day later it will be clear. Up here, this is called a lambing storm, and they’re used to it.” 

The osprey nest at RSPB Loch Garten can be viewed via a live webcam and has been watched by people around the world. 

Find out where to see an osprey in the UK

Your 60 second guide to osprey fishing behaviour

Read more recent news about birds:

Advertisement

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine