Osprey Pandion haliaetus, adult male off-duty perch early morning

Osprey fact file

  • 400

    breeding pairs
  • 15th

    breeding season for Abernethy regular
  • 60

    years of ospreys

Can you go further for nature?


Abernethy's ospreys

Find out all about the long and glorious history of Abernethy’s ospreys.

Scientific name: Pandion haliaetus.

Family: Ospreys are a fish-eating bird of prey that visit Abernethy from spring until mid-August. They return to sub-saharan Africa or the western Mediterranean for winter.

Diet: Ospreys plummet to the water to catch fish with their talons, then rip their catch to bits using their hooked beaks. 

UK population: An estimated 400 breeding pairs.

Habitat: Found across the UK, they select tall trees (usually conifers) for nesting. As a migrant species, ospreys can be found across the world.

Lifespan: Abernethy regular EJ has returned to the Loch Garten nest for her 15th breeding season here. She’s 21 years old and has fledged 25 chicks from the Loch Garten nest over the years, with three different mates.

Observing ospreys at Loch Garten

The Osprey Centre is open every day from April until the first Sunday in September. Loch Garten has been used by ospreys since the first pair returned here in the 1950s after they were persecuted to extinction in the UK, heralding the revival of the species. In 2019, it will be the 60th anniversary of the RSPB taking the groundbreaking decision to open up the nest to public viewing.

This was the first wildlife tourism operation in the UK and paved the way for other sites across the country. Our visitors can view the nest through telescopes, binoculars or via carefully-placed cameras. Aside from the ospreys, we regularly see red squirrels, crested tits, siskins, crossbills, goldeneye and many more species that call the Caledonian pine forest home.

Flying osprey at Glaslyn

Can you go further for nature?