Osprey chick taken by buzzard live on air
BIRD lovers at a four star activity centre in Aberdeenshire have been left stunned after one of their two surviving Osprey chicks was caught on camera being taken by a buzzard.
• Four-week-old Osprey chick snatched by buzzard from nest
• Locals fear chick’s sibling will also be taken
Staff at Lochter Activity centre, Old Meldrum, were celebrating recently when female
Osprey Libby, a local media personality, hatched two healthy chicks from three eggs.
It was the first time Libby and Branson, who have returned to the site for several years, had successfully produced young since nest cameras were installed.
However, workers and customers at the visitor attraction have been left shattered at the loss of the four-week old Osprey and now fear for the survival of its sibling.
Night video from the site shows a buzzard swooping before snatching the chick in its talons.
Workers at Lochter believe the nest raid counters received opinion from bird experts about buzzard feeding behaviour.
“We are all quite raw at the moment,” said Sandy Duncan from the Centre.
“We installed the cameras at a cost of several thousand pounds and the customers in the restaurant have loved watching the osprey young growing and there were a lot of stories about the hatching success in the newspapers.
“The chicks were four weeks old and both were doing really well so we were surprised when we looked at the nest camera one morning and there was only one.
“Since the eggs have hatched, the chicks have barely been unattended for a second and the female and male take it in turns to watch them. That is what surprised us.
“However, we watched the video and saw what happened.”
Footage from the nest shows Libby sensing the buzzard’s approach from the right.
When she lifts off, both she and male Branson - flying back to the nest - are too late to prevent the loss.
Staff have since found the discarded remains of the osprey chick.
“The female sees the buzzard coming and lifts off. As she tries to turn, the buzzard gets in behind her and takes the chick. It is a slick piece of work,” added Mr Duncan.
“People say this type of thing doesn’t happen with buzzards but it has happened here and a lot of people are upset.
“It is not as if there is a lack of food for them either because there are lots of rabbits around.
“It is a sad loss, especially because the pair could not produce last year because of the high wind and bad weather.
“What we now fear is that the buzzard will take the other chick because it has seen what it can do.”
Staff at the centre called The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, who recommended they seek guidance from Scottish Natural Heritage.
Alex Hogg, Chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, said: ”This incident, unfortunately, will come as no surprise to anyone who operates daily in the countryside. It is not just Ospreys but endangered birds on the conservation list, like waders, that are under increasing pressure of predation from buzzards.
“Buzzard numbers have reached record heights and, for the good of other wild birds and for Scotland’s biodiversity, something needs to be done to restore a balance.
“If nothing is put in place to redress an issue which has clearly moved beyond a tipping point, the loser will be Scotland’s skies and its wild bird population.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west