Recovered and released

A week Friday, I went down to Aviemore to collect a male osprey which had been caught in a net – it was the day of the big flood – and when I checked him out I did not have much hope of him surviving. He was absolutely exhausted and kept falling on his back, but the most hopeful thing was that he was fat. He had put on weight for his migration. He weighed 1372 grams with a wingspan of 460mm. He was unringed so we don’t know where he was living or whether he was breeding this year. I took him home and we fed him on cutup pieces of rainbow trout, and for the first two days he had to be force fed on tiny strips of fish. I logged him in with the bird registration people in Bristol. By Monday, he was able to tear up fish and the next day when I tested his flying ability, attached to a long string, he did just about fly across the lawn.

I put him in a friend’s big aviary and on Friday, he was able to fly from the ground to the roof – a remarkable recovery. So this morning Moira and I weighed him again – he had gained 82 grams to 1454 grams, and was now a powerful osprey again – and a dangerous handful, with deadly talons and a sharp bill. I ringed him with a blue colour ring HA on his left leg, a BTO ring on the other. We returned him to Rothiemurchus and it was great to see him rapidly climb up into the skies and soar around, chased briefly by a buzzard. And then he set off in the general direction of the late chicks’ nest. It was wonderful to see him fly off.

Maybe he was the father of our satellite tagged chick ‘Rothiemurchus’. I will have to wait until next spring to check for colour ring blue/white HA.

Before release

Flying away after release