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Return of the osprey

A) You are correct. The osprey ceased breeding in Scotland about 1916 as a result of years of persecution by shooting and the activities of egg collectors. After that, ospreys continued to be seen annually in the Highlands, but these were birds from the Scandinavian population. None of these birds attempted to nest until 1954, when two young were reared.

A pair may have bred in subsequent years, but the next recorded nesting was in 1958, when the nest was robbed despite a 24-hour guard.

Initially, the increase in numbers was slow. Between 1960 and 1964 there were only two pairs. This increased to 31 pairs some 20 years later. Today, more than 200 pairs nest in the Highlands, and most available territories are occupied each summer. Pairs spread naturally to the Lake District, but the breeding birds at Rutland Water were established as a result of the translocation and release of young birds from Scotland.