I totally empathise with Ashley Davies’s sorrow over the probable loss of the “strong, beautiful and fierce” osprey widely known as Lady (Perspective, 16 April). Thank you, Ashley, for speaking from the heart.
I have been a volunteer at the Loch of Lowes reserve for the past four years, and have been privileged to share many happy, and amusing, moments with the staff and fellow volunteers as we followed events playing out on the famous nest atop the tall Scots Pine.
I was one of the many who sat watching over Lady during her mysterious illness in June 2010. The memories will stay with us all forever.
She was so weak that she could barely lift her head as she lay spreadeagled on the edge of the nest, unable to see through eyes sealed closed by dehydration. Yet she still responded to the calls of her hungry chicks, lifting her head and adding her weak voice to theirs.
On day three, this amazing bird defied death by doing what she had to do to save her life. Ospreys get all their water from the fish they eat, and she had eaten nothing throughout the weekend.
In front of a television team who had come to film her last hours, she walked onto her favourite perch, and, after a few moments of calculation, took a leap of faith and flew literally blindly down to the loch’s edge where she drank the water which she desperately needed.
From that moment on, she resumed her parental responsibilities and again defied the pessimists by returning the following year, and every year since – until now.
If she’s decided to stop her northwards migration after reaching Spain, having endured atrocious weather conditions en route, I wish her well.
I realise, however, that we must be realistic. She’s an elderly bird, and is not immortal.
Sad though it is to contemplate her death, we can take some comfort in the fact that her genes are carried by her surviving offspring. If even one of her daughters is as strong and feisty as her mother, her legacy will continue.
I enjoyed Ashley Davies’s column about animals. I always thought that even a basic grasp of evolutionary theory would have persuaded the public that the Tamworth Two be slaughtered immediately – or at least neutered (perhaps in front of their peers so nobody else gets any ideas).
Consider the implications on the gene pool of the UK’s livestock if the ones that make a break for it are spared while the docile ones are sent to slaughter.
After a few generations, it would be chaos, with porcine Paul Newmans making various great escapes around the countryside on foot, underground, on motorbikes etc.
I’m disappointed the tale of Linlithgow’s Black Bitch didn’t make it in to your piece, with the underlying moral of the story being: “Don’t help anyone or we will chain you to a tree until you die.”
That terrifying warning was worn on the chest of every Linlithgow school pupil.