Gender reveal for Scottish osprey ‘stars of lockdown’

The trio of Osprey chicks at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest are fast becoming national TV stars.

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Members of the public are being asked to help name three osprey chicks that have become an international hit during coronavirus lockdown this summer.

Barely five weeks old, the trio at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest have been watched by more than a quarter of a million fans on a live-streaming nest camera supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The youngsters were confirmed over the weekend to be two males and a female.

George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland said: ‘The chicks were ringed at the end of last week and measurements taken at the time suggest they are two males and a female.

‘They don’t have any, how can I put it, visible external attributes. You can’t just lift the tail and check. It comes down to weight plus measurements of the beak, talon and wing size.’

The naming discussion and vote will take place across Woodland Trust’s social media channels this week.

Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager at People’s Postcode Lottery added: ‘We’re delighted our players’ funding has provided a window into this incredible osprey family, giving much needed support to so many people during this strange summer.

‘The naming of the chicks adds a bit of extra fun, so we hope everyone will come up with good suggestions and take part in the eventual vote. And we still have a couple of months left to enjoy watching our osprey family before they migrate.’

The nest camera has been running since 2017. Last year it attracted an audience of 60,000 viewers (that’s viewers not individual views). This year it has seen its audience shoot up to 290,000 viewers so far, with almost two million individual visits to the web page.

‘Some people follow it all day every day. We have heard time and again from people who are shielding that it has helped keep them sane,’ said Mr Anderson.

The live stream has been a big hit with the media as an antidote to virus news too, with appearances on BBC Breakfast, Channel 4 News and BBC Springwatch.

The three siblings all have tag numbers and are described as follows:

JJ6: Male. The eldest. Hatched on May 29. The calm, patient one.

JJ8: Female. Hatched on June 1. The born leader.

JJ7: Male. Hatched June 3. The feisty one. Small and had to be assertive to survive.

The birds are expected to take their first flights by the end of the month before migrating south towards the end of August.

The naming discussion and vote will take place across Woodland Trust’s social media channels this week.