All the latest news is for the birds
If you like birds of prey, our charity partner Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) has been winging out one exciting news story after another in the past couple of weeks.
In one of the most exciting developments, SWT announced that the famous wild osprey, Lady, has returned to her nesting spot at SWT’s Loch of the Lowes nature reserve for the 21st year running. For a bird species with an average life span of only 8 years, that’s pretty incredible! At an estimated 26 years old, Lady is thought to be the oldest breeding female osprey of her kind.
As if that’s not enough heart-warming osprey news, Lady’s mate also returned to their Loch of the Lowes nest site this week. The male osprey was spotted in the Perthshire skies early in the morning on April 3rd and was positively identified as Lady’s mate from last year by a distinctive leg ring. Scottish Wildlife Trust staff observed the male approach the nest to be accepted by Lady, sparking hopes of another brood of chicks this year.
Anna Cheshier, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Perthshire Ranger, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see a mate on the nest. Last year, this bird’s behaviour indicated that he was a fairly new father but he really proved himself last season, following his paternal instincts to fish and provide for his chicks, particularly when our resident female suffered a bout of illness.
“His return and the pair’s subsequent mating early into the season certainly increases the chances of chicks on the nest at Loch of the Lowes again this year. As our female osprey is of an unusually advanced age, there are concerns over her fertility. Only time will tell if she will go on to lay eggs and produce chicks. If she does manage to do so, she will be adding to her already impressive record of laying 58 eggs and producing 48 chicks so far in her lifetime.”
If you’re interested in seeing Lady the osprey, her mate and (hopefully) a new brood of chicks, a visit to the magnificent Loch of the Lowes nature reserve and Visitor Centre is always an unforgettable experience. However, if you can’t make the trek to the nature reserve, you can check out the SWT’s live osprey cam and see these magnificent birds going about their daily lives.
This is great news because only about 1,400 pairs of peregrine falcons remain in the UK. Their numbers fell rapidly in the 1950s due to the effects of DDT, a pesticide which decreased reproductive success through thinning of eggshells. This number accounts for 20% of the EU breeding population and approximately two-thirds of them nest in Scotland.
Famed as the fastest living creature on earth, peregrines can dive at speeds of up to approximately 150 mph to catch their prey of small and medium-sized birds.
To protect the Falls of Clyde peregrine pair and their eggs from egg thieves and wildlife criminals, SWT has launched a 24-hour stakeout on the nest. People’s Postcode Lottery is proud to provide funding for this amazing lookout project. The project is being coordinated by a Peregrine Protection Officer and includes up to 30 charity staff members and volunteers.
You can follow all of the latest peregrine developments at the Falls of Clyde blog. To see the peregrine falcon pair in person, you can visit the beautiful Falls of Clyde nature reserve and Visitor Centre, or you can also see this amazing pair of falcons on the SWT’s live falcon webcam.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been one of People’s Postcode Lottery’s charity partners since 2005. To date, our players have raised more than £1.4 million for the charity.