Ospreys NC0 and LM12 – named Laddie - produced a " clutch of three eggs for the first time at the Scottish Wildlife Trust's (SWT) Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld in Perthshire.
The third chick emerged at around 6pm on Saturday, following its older siblings which hatched on Tuesday and Thursday – all in full view of fans who have been glued to the reserve's live nest-cam.
And all three tucked into a breakfast of trout – freshly caught by Laddie shortly after 7am on Sunday.
Sara Rasmussen, SWT's Perthshire Ranger, said: "We were thrilled to see the chick burst out of its shell.
“There was relatively little notice this one was on the way because part of another eggshell had found its way on to the remaining egg, fitting it like a cap and potentially hiding early signs of hatching.
“Ospreys gain 70 per cent of their body weight in the first month of their lives and we can see the youngsters developing almost daily. It’s amazing to think that in around 12-13 weeks these tiny chicks will be young birds capable of migrating all the way to Africa.
“Even though all of the chicks have hatched, the nest is still vulnerable to disturbance. Our staff and volunteers, with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will continue to keep watch over these amazing birds of prey to ensure they are safe and secure.”
Ospreys chicks need to develop rapidly before taking flight and migrating south at the end of summer. The chick’s parents will have to work hard over the summer to ensure the growing brood receives a steady supply of fish.
2021 is the second breeding season at Loch of the Lowes for Laddie and female NC0. They first paired in 2020 and successfully fledged one chick.
Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th century. They began to recover in the 1960s and today an estimated 300 pairs breed in the UK each summer.
This recovery is thanks to the efforts of conservation charities including the SWT, whose Osprey Protection Programme is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The SWT’s live osprey webcam ensures people from around the world can follow events as they happen.
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “It’s great to learn that all three eggs have now hatched at Loch of the Lowes. I’m delighted that, thanks to the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the ospreys at the reserves are enjoying another successful breeding season. We’ll be watching the webcam closely as these young birds develop.”
Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre & Wildlife Reserve is open to the public from 10:30am - 5pm, Thursday - Monday.
Laddie has been the resident male since 2012, and NC0 is his third partner. For the first three years he paired with Lady, the oldest breeding osprey ever recorded in the UK.In total, 83 chicks have fledged at Loch of the Lowes since 1969 -- 50 of which were the offspring of the legendary Lady.
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