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OSPREY - Pandion haliaetus


The iconic bird of the Cairngorms National Park, the osprey has captured the hearts of many people in the UK.  With the use of satellite transmitters to track their migration route to having 24 hour TV surveillance on the nest to monitor their every move and there have been a few dramas and heartaches over the years. 

The ospreys will start returning from West Africa to their nest sites in March and the breeding adults will start to leave in August with the new fledglings by September. It is a perilous and remarkable journey which sadly many fledglings do not survive the harsh crossing to West Africa.  

Watching the bird’s fish is a breathtaking experience.  It’s a heart stopping moment at the point the bird hits the water to grabbing the fish, then the struggle to lift the fish out of the water with a few powerful wing beats. Just a few seconds and it’s all over. 


The RSPB have public viewing hides at Loch Garten (Highland), Wigtown (Dumfries and Galloway) and Loch of the Lowes (Perthshire). With CCTV cameras on the nest where you can watch all the action from the comfort of the centre or you can view the live video on the RSPB website.  

Good place to watch them fish is the Findhorn Bay in Forres, Moray. Osprey makes a high-pitched, whistling call and will hover over water with deep, slow wingbeats while fishing.

The osprey is a schedule 1 part 1 protected bird.