Serious intruder incident on Nest 2. And aftermath

This year the osprey season has been noteworthy for a number of aggressive intruder incidents on some well known nests (more of that later). At Kielder there have been a few ‘on and off’ landings reported earlier on the blog but on Sunday there was a more sustained intrusion on Nest 2.

Mrs 37 had been relaxed on the eggs when she spotted an osprey in the sky and started mantling. An intruder’s legs hovered over the nest and the bird, thought to be female, landed on the right hand edge after a few seconds.

The intruder lands (c) Forestry Commission England

The intruder lands
(c) Forestry Commission England

Surprisingly Mrs 37 left the nest almost immediately. A successful breeding female will normally defend the nest, particularly against another female, and risk physical harm. But Mrs 37 responded to the self-preservation instinct. 37 was notable by his absence – probably out hunting a couple or more miles away as the rain had just lessened – so did being alone push her towards self-preservation rather than nest protection?

The intruder took advantage and hopped onto the empty nest, looking round frequently and appearing unsure how to behave. But over the next 16 minutes only the intruder was on the nest and the eggs were kicked or trampled several times.

The intruder stands on an egg, talons open (c) Forestry Commission England

The intruder stands on an egg, talons open
(c) Forestry Commission England

Eventually the intruder left and Mrs 37 landed immediately and incubated. She was still alarm calling for a time but settled on the eggs and soon afterwards 37 returned. During the afternoon there were two more intrusions by an unseen bird; on the first 37 joined Mrs 37 briefly before chasing after the bird.

37 lands to defend the nest (c) Forestry Commission England

37 lands to defend the nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

On the second occasion he landed and Mrs 37 went off after the intruder whilst 37 incubated.

Careful examination of the eggs by a number of pairs of eyes did not reveal signs of damage, although there is no optical zoom to provide a better view.

Today the intruder (presumably) was around once more and the eggs, still looking undamaged, were left exposed on a cool and breezy day for over two hours whilst Mrs 37 initially, then 37 (back with a fish), defended the nest with only very brief landings. This exposure poses some degree of risk to their viability at their stage of development. But either 37 or Mrs 37 has been covering the eggs since late morning until the time of writing, 15.00. Let’s hope the intruder has got the message and all ends well at hatching time, the end of the month.

As mentioned earlier, other nests have experienced even more aggression. At both Rutland Site B and Loch Garten persistent harassment by several male intruders prevented the resident males from supplying fish to the females and in both cases clutches were lost. Thankfully the breeding males were able to regain control of their nests and a second clutch was laid at Site B. As the population increases successful nests are an attraction to non-breeding ospreys and these intrusions reflect successful population growth.

Here is a video of some of the intrusion yesterday.

Especial thanks to Emyr Evans of the Dyfi Osprey Project for taking the time to check the video footage. Many thanks also to Paul for his input.

This entry was posted in Osprey updates, Osprey video, UK and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Serious intruder incident on Nest 2. And aftermath

  1. Jillian says:

    Not here as well, just getting over all the upset at LG. At Least Odin has returned safely but now there are 4 / 5 ospreys landing on the nest! Hope the eggs are fine.

    • joannadailey says:

      Thanks, Jillian, so do we. Events here were nothing like those experienced at LG. I hope Odin and EJ will be left alone now.

  2. Mike says:

    That was certainly some attack and how the eggs were not smashed has to be a matter of sheer luck. I do hope the subsequent period of non incubation will prove not to have caused harm. How typical of Emyr to help.

  3. joannadailey says:

    It was very generous of Emyr indeed. And his thoughts most welcome.

    We hope that the intruder has got the message now.

  4. Vivien Finn says:

    Awful attack, Joanna. I pray all the eggs are in tact as they should be. A worrying time for you both now and in the days ahead. Thoughts are with you all.

    • joannadailey says:

      Thanks, Viv. No damage could be seen after the intrusion yesterday and incubation was solid all afternoon today so hopefully we are on an even keel again. It’ll be a long wait until hatch time though!

  5. Vic Paine says:

    I know the high number of intrusions is distressing but surely isn’t it a sign of increasing Osprey population?

    • joannadailey says:

      You are correct, Vic. What the season seems to be highlighting is the ‘up and coming’ generation’s desire to take over an active nest rather than establish a site of their own. A platform should look like ‘previously successful nest, now vacant’, but despite available platforms at Rutland and Kielder that is not enough for some ospreys.

  6. Cirrus says:

    Just awful.. I truly hope the eggs ARE fine. LG nest a mess. three intruders. One female . One very aggressive male. All eggs gone and EJ and Odin not mating.

    • joannadailey says:

      Cirrus, we share your concern for LG. After Odin returned there was hope for a second clutch but it looks bleak for you.

      We hope the Nest 2 eggs are OK too, it’ll be a long wait until hatching time.

      • Cirrus says:

        All my Hopes, joannadailey. . It’s nerve wracking. Just so long as the intruder leaves the area now. As you say. A long wait to hatching.

  7. Is the answer to build some more nests?

  8. Joyce Rawlings says:

    Oh noooo this is awful viewing…..I hope that all 4 eggs will be was strange that she left the nest????

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