Osprey microphone cover replaced after blue tits raided nest

Lassie and Laddie were reunited at the Loch of the Lowes where staff had to replace the mic cover after tits stole it for their nest. Picture: Saltire News
Lassie and Laddie were reunited at the Loch of the Lowes where staff had to replace the mic cover after tits stole it for their nest. Picture: Saltire News
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A microphone at Scotland’s most famous osprey nests has had to be replaced – after blue-tits stole its fuzzy cover to line their own beds.

Osprey pair Lassie and 
Laddie were reunited at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve near Dunkeld, Perthshire, last week after returning from their annual migration to 
Africa.

Fans are following the fortunes of the birds, which produced three offspring last summer, via a live nest-cam overlooking the nest.

But their enjoyment was threatened by the blue-tits, and experts had to climb up when the nest was still empty to replace the microphone.

Charlotte Fleming, trust ranger, said: “There are lots of blue-tits, coal tits and great tits around and they know exactly what they are looking out for when it comes to nest-
building.

“Blue-tits in particular enjoyed pulling off the fluff from the mic for their own nests. It’s perfect as it provides really soft and warm nest lining for them.

“We’ve now got a brand new microphone, so the audio is fantastic for people watching and listening to the ospreys.

“Any time we put signs out tied with string, within a couple of minutes there will be a blue-tit or a coal tit picking away at the cotton for its nest.”

Breeding efforts began on Friday morning, almost immediately after the male raptor, Laddie, touched down on the nest following the epic journey from Africa.

A team of around 100 wildlife workers and volunteers will now keep a 24-hours-a-day watch over the nest, to protect the birds from disturbance.

Last year the pair produced three offspring, which rangers hope will return to Scotland to breed in a year or two.

Ms Fleming added: “Ospreys can have well over 100 mating attempts in the first couple of weeks, so we are very hopeful for another successful season.

“The birds have reacted very well to each other so it is the best start we could have hoped for.

“They fledged three chicks last year. It would be ideal if they could repeat the feat this year.”

Lassie was given her name as the eyrie was previously home to Lady, the oldest breeding osprey ever recorded in the UK. The wildlife phenomenon fledged 50 chicks in 24 consecutive years at Loch of the Lowes.

Thousands of twitchers were delighted when a successor settled with Laddie.