Wildlife fans were left watching in horror on Tuesday, when a livestream caught the moment an osprey egg was sent tumbling to the ground in an attack by a tawny owl.
Woodland Trust Scotland has been operating a live nest camera at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber since 2017.
Viewers were anticipating the hatching of this year’s three osprey eggs when, on Tuesday, the owl attacked and broke an egg.
“The Loch Arkaig ospreys usually suffer several night-time attacks by tawny owls each year, but this is the first time any harm has been done,” George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland explained.
“Tawny owl chicks are very mobile in the trees before they are able to fly, and their parents get very nervous of anything they think might be a threat.
“Even though the fish-eating ospreys would not harm an owl chick, the owls don’t want them around.”
He said that on this occasion, one of the eggs went over the side – whereas usually, no harm is done.
“An enterprising badger or pine marten will likely have made a meal of the smashed egg,” he added.
The egg went overboard after the third strike in a prolonged attack by the owl. Osprey mum Dorcha had already been knocked off the nest and returned.
Osprey parents Louis and Dorcha are now tending to their remaining two eggs which are likely to begin hatching over the weekend.