Osprey Conservation and Translocation Projects

While the forum’s been up & down, I prepared some material I promised a while ago, about conservation activities aimed at protecting ospreys, and persuading them to recolonise areas where they once used to breed. I’ve found some interesting material on projects from around Europe, and I hope others will join in and contribute items.
First, some background information:
This page from Roy Dennis’ website, also in his book “A Life of Ospreys”, is about nest building, but also has a lot of information about osprey breeding habits, and the factors which encourage, or hinder, recolonisation.
One of the biggest obstacles to the colonisation of new areas, is the tendency of young male ospreys to return to breed at the location where they fledged (known as philopatry). Translocation is the technique designed to overcome this, by transferring young ospreys to a new site suitable for breeding, shortly before they fledge. In Europe, it was pioneered at Rutland Water from 1996, and there are ongoing projects in several countries. This page from the Rutland Water site gives an overview of the project there:
 Ok that’s enough of the theory. First, we’re off to Spain........
  • Alerta Pescadora!

    http://www.alertapescadora.com/noticias.asp

    This is the website of an osprey conservation project run by FAPAS, the organisation responsible for nature protection in the Asturias region of northern Spain.

    The region has a number of sheltered estuaries on the Bay of Biscay, like the Ria de Villaviciosa:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC-NDrXJTp4&feature=fvw

    Ospreys often pass through on migration – Morven made a stopover here in Spring 2009. They also have several wintering ospreys; the one in the Ria de Villaviciosa, known as “Ben” or “Yellow 4A”, has been adopted as a figurehead of the project. But they would love to have ospreys breed here again; the last nest in the area was abandoned in 1960.     

    To read the site, I suggest you look first at the Bulletin in English, then sample the Noticias (News). They have just started providing English versions of the news items, but you can get the gist of the older ones using Google translate.

    I think this site is interesting, especially for the educational work they are doing in schools and their enthusiasm for all things osprey. I have seen reports that they are planning to fit a satellite tag to the unsuspecting Ben, here seen fishing in the Ria de Villaviciosa, to find out where he goes to breed in summer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72SMHWBCz-Y

  • In reply to Sue C:

    Sue C   Do you have any information about the translocation of ospreys to Spain? It is a project which began about six years ago now and seems to be doing quite well. However there does not seem to be any regular updates about what is happening.

    It seems to be a mixture of Scottish, German and Finnish birds that have been translocated.

    Here is one report of some Scottish birds being sent in 2006. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/5176818.stm

    and in 2004

    See

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3888325.stm

    There does not seem to be any one stop shop for this project. Although a number of reports have been issued.

    Tiger's RSPB Signature

  • In reply to Tiger:

    Tiger

    No I don't know of any site dedicated to the Andalucia translocation project. If you look on "Alerta Pescadora", there is information about it under the "El Rincon" tab, and also in the News items. The first brood of chicks born to translocated birds hatched in 2009 i.e. 5 years after they started.

    I've got some great info about the Corsica to Tuscany translocation though......  

  • In reply to Sue C:

    Sue C said:

    Tiger

    No I don't know of any site dedicated to the Andalucia translocation project. If you look on "Alerta Pescadora", there is information about it under the "El Rincon" tab, and also in the News items. The first brood of chicks born to translocated birds hatched in 2009 i.e. 5 years after they started.

    I've got some great info about the Corsica to Tuscany translocation though......  

    Now that is a translocation I know very little if anything about. I would love to read about it. Any links?

    Tiger's RSPB Signature

  • In reply to Sue C:

    There's a little info on this site which may be of interest to you Sue.

     

    http://www.iberianature.com/material/spain_osprey.htm

  • In reply to Tiger:

    Thanks lyndab.

    Hazel b said:

    Now that (Corsica > Tuscany) is a translocation I know very little if anything about. I would love to read about it. Any links?

    Tiger, The more recent "Balbuzard Info" magazines attached towards the bottom of this page, http://balbuzard.lpo.fr/actualites/actualites.html 

    give updates - in French - on this project, and also report on the osprey scene in Corsica and Italy. The other main item I have, is an Italian TV programme about the project which someone has kindly posted on Youtube, divided into 4 instalments. It's the best quality film about translocation I have seen so far.    

    As I think people would find it tricky to deal, simultaneously, with printed French text and a spoken Italian commentary, I was thinking of producing an English summary of the content of each film, for people to refer to as they watch them. Does this sound useful/interesting?

  • In reply to Sue C:

    Sue C   Yes that sounds very interesting. I take it then that you follow the French ospreys? I was aware of how they were getting on when there were about 21 pairs. I guess that has increased over the last few years?

    They did track one French osprey called Tom one year. There was even a site in English for it. Then it all went quiet and the site disappeared.

    I will check out the links. I have been familiar with balbuzard site for a long time. A bit difficult to read though as it is all in French and my French is far from fluent! :)

    Tiger's RSPB Signature

  • In reply to Tiger:

    Here is a link to the Spanish translocation project from 2003/4. I note that the birds were tracked. See http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/13498/1/Pandion_haliaetus_Report_2003.pdf

    Tiger's RSPB Signature

  • In reply to Sue C:

    I found this little snippet of information:

    Tag: Spanish ospreys

     

    Osprey breeds in Spain

    June 10th, 2009

    Ospreys (águila pescadora in Spanish) have bred in mainland Spain for the first time in 80 years. Three chicks have been born in the Marismas del Odiel, in Huelva and two in Cadiz. Since 2003, 108 chicks have been released in Cádiz and Huelva from Germany (68 birds), Finland (20) and Scotland (20).  The young ospreys released in Andalusia have shown normal migratory behaviour of birds raised in their own nests in the region, and have begun to fly south to areas typical osprey areas. Radio-tracking has detected them on the West African coast along the rivers in Senegal and Gambia .The presence of huge expanses of water in Andalusia in the form of reservoirs built since then bodes well for the species future. The osprey never became extinct in the Balearics where they have clung on with 20 pairs and the Canaries with 12 pairs.

  • In reply to lyndab:

    lyndab and Tiger

    Thanks, that fills in some gaps about the Spanish project. It seems then, they had a pilot exercise in 2003 using just the 4 Finnish birds, then added German and Scottish birds from 2004. It's interesting that one they tracked to sub-Saharan Africa went E to Mali, which one might expect of a Finnish bird but would not be usual for say a Scottish one. I wonder if the descendants of the translocated birds will still migrate, given that the release sites are also wintering locations for a number of N European ospreys. I think I've worked out where they are:

    Huelva

      Barbate near Cadiz

      

    Now on to France. I can see Tiger's point - though there's a lot of info available, much of it is in .pdf files which are difficult to deal with if you don't have a lot of French. I'll try and produce some kind of summary about the Loire population next.