There has been mixed news from our Loch Arkaig ospreys this week, so the following story offered some welcome cheer. A parrot in Yorkshire has begun calling like an osprey after its owners became addicted to online footage from our nest camera.
Sailor is a 24-year-old African grey parrot who lives with Stuart and Sue Brannen in Seamer just outside Scarborough.
She has been mimicking the hunger call of our female osprey, Aila – half way across Britain in the West Highlands.
The Brannens have been glued to the drama online.
"We both have tablets and it has been riveting to watch Louis and Aila," said Stuart (70) who is a retired merchant seaman.
"We have had the website on so much Sailor has started to mimic the pleading cry Aila makes when she wants Louis to feed her. It is remarkable! If you are in the other room you can’t tell if it is the osprey or the parrot making the noise."
It seems our nest cam has brought a real call of the wild into people's homes. Aside from Sailor we have heard there is a budgie somewhere which also thinks its an osprey now. So long as they don't leave off the cuttlefish and develop a taste for fresh trout!
Ospreys are very unconcerned by cameras so there are quite a few pairs people can watch. Some fans keep tabs on lots of different nests. We get comments below our live feed where visitors compare and contrast how birds are doing around the country. It is clearly quite addictive. Some people are glued to the tennis or cricket while others are glued to the ospreys.
We were able to buy this amazing forest thanks to people all over the UK and beyond contributing to the appeal, including players of People's Postcode Lottery. It is a wild and remote place so not everyone will be able to visit. We thought this nest camera would be a nice way to give everyone a flavour wherever they may be. It certainly seems to be doing that, although we hadn’t planned for parrots and budgies!
Three chicks hatched
It has been a dramatic week at the nest. Two chicks hatched last weekend. Unfortunately one of them did not survive.
Then the third and final egg hatched on Wednesday night but again this chick died. The remaining chick is doing well however. We are crossing everything in the hope that it makes it through to fledging.
These are wild creatures and their lives are seldom easy. It is by no means unusual for youngsters to die in the nest. Last year all five osprey nests in the vicinity failed. It is believed there was so much rain the birds were unable to catch enough fish. It may seem strange that a bird which comes to Scotland can’t cope with rain, but the fact is that ospreys can’t see fish when the water surface is disturbed too much. This year the weather has been more forgiving.
Everyone is rooting for Louis and Aila and their remaining chick, from the West Highlands to North Yorkshire and beyond.