THE first osprey chick of the season has hatched at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire.

Late on Wednesday evening reserve staff spotted a hole in one of three eggs that a female osprey has been incubating since the middle of April. The chick emerged from its egg Thursday morning.

Osprey eggs hatch between one and two days apart, in the order they were laid. In the first few hours after hatching, the chicks are incredibly weak and vulnerable. The young birds quickly grow in size and strength. The chicks rely on a high protein diet of fish regularly provided by their parents.

An osprey egg takes around 37 days to hatch.

Sara Rasmussen of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “We’re delighted to have our first osprey chick of the season.

“Hopefully it won’t be long until all three chicks have hatched out.

“The first few weeks of a young osprey’s life are fascinating to watch. They develop incredibly quickly, and they are noticeably different each day.

“This rapid development is vital because they need to grow to adult size in time to make the long migration south at the end of the summer.”

The National:

Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th-century. They began to recover in the 1960s and an estimated 300 pairs of ospreys now breed in the UK each summer. Most of these birds migrate to West Africa but some winter in Spain and Portugal.

The recovery of ospreys in Scotland is down to the efforts of conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The trust manages around 120 wildlife reserves across Scotland and is a member of the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts movement.