Moray ospreys translocated to Basque Country

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Forest Enterprise Scotland's Aberdeenshire team has been involved in a five year project to help restore breeding Ospreys to the Basque Country of Spain.

The FES team has been working with renowned conservationist Roy Dennis, of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, who has been collecting chicks under a SNH licence to translocate to Spain’s Basque Country, where no Ospreys have bred for a century or more.

The release site, the Urdaibai Estuary near Bilbao, is used by Ospreys during their passage to and from Scotland so was considered a suitable site for a re-introduction by the Basque osprey group.

As well as providing a gene pool for re-introductions to other countries, this partnership has also protected existing nests and so helped Ospreys consolidate their numbers and spread in Scotland.

Alan Campbell, Environment Ranger with FES team, said:

“This has been a great project to be involved in. It feels really good to know that we have helped reintroduce these magnificent birds to another part of the world where they have been struggling to hold on.

“Roy has been weighing, measuring and ringing osprey chicks on the national forest estate for many years, but over the past five years, when there has been more than one chick in a nest, the larger chick has been selected for translocation.

“Three nests in Moray & Aberdeenshire supplied four chicks this year, a great improvement on last year, when all nests failed due to bad weather.

“The project has improved Scotland’s osprey numbers too because each of the smaller chicks left in the nests – with no competitive siblings - will have received all the food brought to the nest and so would have fledged in really good condition.”

The birds are ringed with both a traditional metal and a plastic, coloured ring inscribed with identifying numbers or letters that make it easier to track migrating birds  - and spot any that return to Scotland in the future.

The partnership will next year build new man-made nests to attract young returning Ospreys to breed on the forest estate. Two of the nests we visited this year were man-made.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of the Forestry Commission and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  5. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.