Osprey sightings wanted by RSPB

Osprey chicks.

Osprey chicks.

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A conservation charity is appealing for members of the public to report nesting ospreys and sightings of ospreys in Aberdeenshire this spring.

RSPB Scotland monitors nesting ospreys across Aberdeenshire and Moray. Ospreys first bred in Aberdeenshire in the early 1990s. After slowly increasing, numbers have levelled off recently at around 20 pairs. This is partly because they are colonising further south in Scotland and in England, but it is believed they might be missing nesting pairs because ospreys can be surprisingly elusive.

Ian Francis, Conservation Manager for RSPB Scotland said: “Although ospreys are one of Scotland’s largest and most characteristic breeding birds, they can be very secretive and their nests are often difficult to find. So we are sure there are local nests that we don’t know about. We are urging people to get in touch to tell us about where they have seen ospreys, particularly if they’ve seen one carrying a fish or if they think they have spotted a nest.”

Ospreys can nest in any suitable tree or woodland, often far from rivers and lochs.

Ian added: “Even if people think we already know about a nest, we’d like them to call or email us because we’d really like to make sure that we know of all the sites so we can be sure we have a full picture of what these birds are up to!”

If you have spotted an osprey you can contact RSPB Scotland by emailing esro@rspb.org.uk or calling 01224 624824. All information will be kept securely, and only used as part of the annual osprey monitoring scheme.

Ospreys become extinct as a breeding bird in Scotland in 1916 and re-colonised naturally in 1954. But by 2013, the UK population numbered over 210 pairs.