Staff at the RSPB Loch Garten Osprey Centre are celebrating the news that this year's two osprey chicks have been given a clean bill of health after they were successfully ringed on Thursday 23 June. World renowned osprey expert and onetime Warden at Loch Garten himself, Roy Dennis, led the team at the reserve with the successful ringing of the two chicks, which he confirmed as being male and in good health. Listeners to BBC Radio Scotland's "Out for the Weekend" programme came up with name suggestions for the two chicks, with Rowan and Willow pipping other suggestions to the post.
Jess Tomes, Visitor Operations Manager at the RSPB centre said "It's just wonderful news that we have two healthy boys. Everything went so smoothly with the ringing - it's quite an operation involving a very high ladder, climbing gear, a large hold-all, not to mention all of Roy's equipment. We ring the chicks with two leg rings - one is a metal ring with a unique number on it, which is recorded and therefore traceable if the bird is ever re-caught or the body found. The other is a larger, plastic coloured ring with three digits - this ring is visible with binoculars so that the birds can be identified from afar. Having access to this kind of information helps conservation scientists find out about the birds' movements and is a vital part of efforts to understand osprey ecology."
The two chicks were ringed with blue identification rings with white lettering. Rowan, the largest chick has "PP0" on his ring and Willow has "AF0". Rowan and Willow are osprey parents EJ and Odin's sixteenth and seventeenth chicks - and EJ's twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth at the Loch Garten nest (EJ had two previous partners before Odin) - making the couple the most successful breeding pair the world-famous nest has had since ospreys first returned to breed there in the 1950's.
Jess added "We're immensely proud of our breeding osprey pair. EJ and Odin are such a strong couple and such experienced parents - they really are part of the fabric of this fantastic and historic RSPB Osprey Centre, and have delighted hundreds of thousands of visitors over the last few years. Now their boys, Rowan and Willow, are entertaining our visitors too, and the next few weeks will see them standing up more around the nest and building their flight muscles with some wing-flapping exercises. There'll be plenty to see!"
Loch Garten is famous as being the home of breeding ospreys since the 1950s and was where they first returned after becoming extinct as a breeding species in the early twentieth century. The RSPB has been protecting ospreys at Loch Garten since 1958 and 2016 marks the 58th season of "Operation Osprey".
Loch Garten Osprey Centre
When ospreys returned to breed in Scotland, this ancient Caledonian pine forest is where they chose to come. The Loch Garten Osprey Centre provides fantastic views of these magnificent birds on the nest, as well as close up views thanks to our non-invasive CCTV camera. The reserve also has some excellent walks, with the chance to see red squirrels, dragonflies and crested tits.
The Osprey Centre (including the shop and toilets) is open daily, 10 am to 6 pm (shop until 5 pm) from April to the end of August. Last entry to the centre is at 5 pm. While the Osprey Centre, shop and toilets are closed out of season, the wider reserve is open all year-round.
For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jess Tomes, Osprey Centre Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01479 821897 or Chris Tilbury, Visitor Experience Manager 01479 831476 (mobile: 07526 909427) or email@example.com