The Osprey and his Protectors
Earlier this month, representatives from the Rutland Osprey Project visited Cottesmore Millfield Academy to tell pupils about ospreys and their daily routine. 2016 is a special year, as it is the Project’s 20th anniversary!
Ospreys eat fish all the time, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Even though they are birds of prey, mice, other small birds, large insects and rodents are safe in an osprey’s habitat.
An osprey is born in a cream coloured, brown speckled egg. The egg has to be incubated by the mother and father of the chicks, sometimes individually, sometimes together. Within 6 weeks, the eggs will eventually hatch, with intervals of 1-3 days in-between.
When the young are 6 weeks old, they will be the same size as their father! When they begin their flying lessons, they will flap their wings as fast as they can, but just go about 30cm high, then slowly drift back down to the nest. This action is repeated for a while until the young can fly themselves.
To tell if an osprey is a baby or an adult, you must look closely at the feathers; if it’s a baby they should be white on the tips.
A Year 6 pupil commented, “Some incredible facts were shared with us and some models were brought in so we knew what things were like. Did you know that an osprey’s wingspan is an average of 180cm?”
In late August to early September, the ospreys must be able to fly for they have to migrate to Gambia in Africa! The families separate but come together again when they are in Africa. Usually, the babies don’t come home until they are two years old; they are then officially an adult. Some will not return to Rutland for several years.
Pupils were thrilled to learn about a bird that is so closely associated with their county of Rutland and hope that the Rutland Osprey Project continues to unearth fascinating facts about ospreys!
During the summer holidays try and persuade your elders to take you to Rutland Water Nature Reserve. One of the best ways of seeing these wonderful birds is to take a guided boat trip that takes you to parts of the reservoir where you stand the best chance of seeing fishing ospreys. Their website is crammed with information and has all the details you need.
Georgia, Year 6