Loch of the Lowes osprey rallies but remains 'weak'

image captionThe osprey is sitting in her nest surrounded by her chicks

Hundreds of bird-lovers around the world are monitoring the progress of a sick osprey in Perthshire on a webcam.

The 25-year-old bird, called Lady, is the oldest known breeding osprey in the UK - but experts believe she may not live for much longer.

The osprey is nesting at the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, Dunkeld.

Rangers at the site said that while she appeared "a bit stronger" there remained "worrying signs" that the prognosis was "poor"

In an update at 1800 BST on the Scottish Wildlife Trust's blog, Emma Rawling, Perthshire ranger, said: "Our female osprey, though a wee bit stronger, is still definitely weak and dehydrated.

"Her eyes are still partially closed and she has taken on a very sunken appearance, and her co-ordination is poor - all of these are worrying signs that still indicate a poor prognosis."

Ms Rawling said staff would monitor the bird, who is surrounded by her young chicks, through the night.

Currently, the osprey's 10-year-old male partner is feeding the chicks.

Ms Rawling added: "Obviously we will be with her through the night and watching every detail.

"The good news is that the chicks are looking good - dad is really an amazing bird."

Ospreys usually live between eight and 15 years and are estimated to produce about 20 eggs during that time.

But Lady has produced 56 eggs and succeeded in raising 46 chicks to fledging.

She has also developed an international following through the webcam which is trained on her eyrie during breeding season.

Reserve manager Peter Ferns said staff would not intervene to help the osprey.

He said: "This is nature, she's a wild bird and if she's coming to the end of her time I think it would be better if we just left her to it.

"She's been a fantastic bird and added to the crop of ospreys in Scotland over the years.

"We will not be switching off the webcam. We will leave it on."

'Barely moving'

An SWT spokeswoman told BBC Scotland Lady had appeared to "rally" her strength a little since Sunday, but said she did not expect the bird to recover.

"It will probably be a short-lived improvement. It's likely to be Tuesday or Wednesday when we see her final demise," she said.

"We will then remove her from the nest with the minimum amount of disruption and take her away for a post-mortem."

Martin McManus, from Paisley, was one of many webcam watchers who contacted the wildlife reserve to warn staff about Lady's condition.

He said: "I've been watching it all weekend. My heart's been in in my mouth.

"Her head's been down and she's been barely moving."

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