Osprey chicks take flight for the first time

Osprey chicks take flight for the first time
Young Osprey PF4 in his nest, ahead of his first flight (Scottish Wildlife Trust/PA)
Chris Baker

Two osprey chicks have taken to the skies for the first time from their nest at a Scottish wildlife reserve.

The chicks, known as PF4 and PF5, took wing for the first time on Sunday and Thursday respectively, the Scottish Wildlife Trust confirmed.

The chicks are based at the Lowes Wildlife Reserve and Visitor Centre in Dunkeld, known as the gateway to the Highlands.

The female chick, PF4, embarked on her maiden flight at 10.07am on Sunday.

After exploring the skies for the first time, she landed safely back in her nest a few minutes later.

PF4's first flightPF4 takes off on her first flight (Scottish Wildlife Trust)

PF5, the younger male brother, is said to have flapped, squealed and helicoptered from the nest to a perch and back before finally taking flight at 9.47am on Thursday.

Sara Rasmussen, a Perthshire ranger, said: “This is a great time to come and view these majestic birds taking short flights around their nest and the loch where you can hear them shouting out for fish.

“The youngsters will be fed constantly by their parents to build up their energy and fat reserves before their long migration in late August.

“Initially, they will spend time building up their strength, confidence and control with short flights around the nest.

“After a week they may start to venture further, building up to flights that last a few hours.”

PF5 departs on his first flight (Scottish Wildlife Trust)

Once chicks have been able to fly for a few weeks, the female tends to depart first while her male companion provides food for the other young ospreys.

The birds are named after the unique identification bands which are put around their leg.

This means the ospreys, which are known to migrate as far as Africa, can be identified.

They are expected to fly south in late August.

The pair’s parents, female NC0 and male LM12, returned to their Dunkeld nest on March 17 within six hours of each other.

NC0 laid three eggs in April, with two hatching on May 13 and 16.

The other egg unfortunately did not hatch.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust said it is the earliest recorded hatching date for the nest.

Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre is open seven days a week from 10.30am until 5pm.

They also have a live osprey webcam which can be found here.

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