48 Kids in 26 Years! Super Mom!


The IP wants to make you pithecanthropus aware of one of the most amazing birds (and moms) in the world. Not a species of bird, but an actual, individual bird that lives in Scotland in the Spring and Summer and travels to West Africa for the Winter. This female osprey has been named “Lady,” and she is a record-setter. Here is what the Scottish Wildlife Trust has to say about this amazing raptor:

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve has been home to breeding osprey for the last 42 years, since 1969.

For 21 of those years, one remarkable female osprey has returned time and again to the astonishment of ornithologist and experts in conservation, as well as wildlife enthusiasts across the globe. Affectionately known by some as ‘Lady’ or ‘the Lady of the Loch’, this individual osprey is thought to be the oldest known breeding osprey ever recorded in Britain.

But how remarkable can one old bird be? We say – let her statistics speak for themselves.

Species: Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Estimated age: 26 years (the average lifespan of an osprey is 8 years)

Number of eggs lain in her lifetime: 58

Number of chicks fledged from her nest: 48

Estimated number of miles travelled in her lifetime: 123,000 miles (3000 miles x 2 – from West Africa to Perthshire and back again – every year for approximately the last 20 years, plus 3,000 miles back this year)

The IP has been watching SWT’s osprey web-cam for two breeding seasons, and, with patience and luck, has witnessed some fascinating osprey behaviour. Some basic facts about ospreys make them some of the best raptors in the world:

Diet: Fresh Fish  High in protein, low in fat, and caught live with a spectacular dive into the water.

Sharing is Caring: The male shares incubation duties with the female, and is a “fishwinner” par excellence, bringing fresh fish to his mate on a regular basis.

Keeping it Clean: Both the male and female breeding pair are meticulous with keeping their huge nest clean, always removing fish scraps and taking care to pass waste outside the nest.

Parental Care: Again, both the male and female osprey are fully committed to feeding and protecting their brood, making sure each chick gets his or her share of fresh fish and protecting them from Scotland’s frequent rain.

Fidelity: While not all ospreys are monogamous, all are at least monogamous for the entirety of the breeding season, making sure to be good parents until the chicks fledge, learn to fly and catch fish; Lady never fails to find a suitor during her vacation in West Africa. 48 kids in 26 years! WTF?

Watch Lady (and if you’re lucky, her mate) on The Loch of The Lowes Web-Cam:


From The Loch of The Lowes Blog:

Events at the nest today:

Although our osprey pair have braved a few passing showers, the weather has brightened up significantly today. So far today, our male has brought in two fish to the nest. The first, very large, whole fish arrived at 10:10am this morning. The second arrived at 12:59pm. This fish was just the tail end and had already been fed upon by the male.

In an unusual turn of events, a red squirrel was caught on the nest camera in a topmost branch of the nest tree at 16:55pm. This caused the male to get a bit flustered and he stood off the eggs, stretching out his wings in warning. The squirrel quickly got the message and moved on, allowing the male to continue his incubation duties comfortably.

A question we received via ospreys@swt.org.uk asked us if the male always brings in a headless fish or if they are sometimes brought in whole. From what we have seen, the male will usually eat the head of a fish he catches himself and then deliver the rest to the female for her to eat. However, he will occasionally bring in a whole fish. This will most likely depend on how hungry he is at the time of catching it.

Watch An Osprey Catch a (BIG!) Fish:


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