Birth enthusiasts asked to name three Scottish osprey chicks

Bird enthusiasts are being asked to help name three osprey chicks that found fame on a live-stream nest camera during lockdown.

The two male and one female osprey chicks which hatched at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in the Highlands about five weeks ago. Picture: Lewis Pate/WTML/PA Wire
The two male and one female osprey chicks which hatched at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in the Highlands about five weeks ago. Picture: Lewis Pate/WTML/PA Wire

Checks over the past few days have confirmed the trio at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in the Highlands are two males and a female.

The chicks, which are barely five weeks old, have been watched by over a quarter of a million fans around the world on the camera.

Last year, the camera attracted an audience of 60,000 viewers but this has shot up to 290,000 viewers so far this year, with almost two million individual visits to the webpage.

George Anderson, of Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “Some people follow it all day every day.

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“We have heard time and again from people who are shielding that it has helped keep them sane.”

Mr Anderson said the chicks were ringed at the end of last week and measurements taken at the time suggest they are two males and a female.

He explained: “It comes down to weight plus measurements of the beak, talon and wing size.”

Woodland Trust Scotland bought Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in 2016 in partnership with local group Arkaig Community Forest.

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In 2017 an inexperienced young male osprey took possession of the nest.

He was nicknamed Lonesome Louis after he had to wait 18 days before attracting a mate. She was named Aila and they have returned to the nest every year since then.

In their first year they raised a single chick – Lachlan.

In 2018, all three of the pair’s eggs were taken by a pine marten, but in 2019, they successfully raised two female chicks – Rannoch and Mallie.

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Loch Arkaig was the last known breeding site of ospreys in Britain before the species was wiped out around the time of the First World War.

The species has been making a gradual comeback since returning to Loch Garten on Speyside in the 1950s.

People are now being asked to help name the pair’s chicks, with the naming discussion and vote taking place across Woodland Trust’s social media channels this week.

The have each been given tag numbers with male chick JJ6, hatched on 29 May, described as the calm, patient one.

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Female chick JJ8, hatched on 1 June, is dubbed the born leader, while the other male chick JJ7, which emerged from its shell on 3 June, is described as the feisty one which was “small and had to be assertive to survive”.

The birds are expected to take their first flights by the end of the month before migrating south towards the end of August.

The camera is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and has been streaming footage of the birds online since 2017.

Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We’re delighted our players’ funding has provided a window into this incredible osprey family, giving much needed support to so many people during this strange summer.

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“The naming of the chicks adds a bit of extra fun, so we hope everyone will come up with good suggestions and take part in the eventual vote.

“And we still have a couple of months left to enjoy watching our osprey family before they leave on migration.”

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