Public to name osprey chicks after birds become internet hit

Barely five-weeks-old, the trio have been watched by more than a quarter of a million fans via a nest camera.

Public to name osprey chicks after birds become internet hit
Online hit: The chicks have been watched by more than a quarter of a million fans.

The Woodland Trust is looking for the public’s help to name three osprey chicks that have become an international hit from the Highlands.   

Barely five-weeks-old, the trio at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber have been watched by more than a quarter of a million fans via a live-streaming nest camera.

The two males and single female have been tagged and 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 the Woodland Trust’s social media channels this week.

  • JJ6: The eldest male, hatched May 29. The calm, patient one.
  • JJ8: The female, hatched June 1. The born leader.
  • JJ7: The youngest male, hatched June 3. The small feisty one who had to be assertive to survive.

The nest camera – supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – has been running since 2017.

In 2019, it attracted an audience of 60,000 viewers. This year the audience has shot up to 290,000 viewers so far, with almost two million individual visits to the web page.

Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “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 leave on migration.”

Birds of a feather: The ospreys are expected to migrate south towards the end of August.
Birds of a feather: The ospreys are expected to migrate south towards the end of August.

The osprey family’s story at Loch Arkaig began in 2017 when an inexperienced young male took possession of the nest. 

He was nicknamed Lonesome Louis as he had to wait 18 days before attracting a mate. 

She was named Aila and that first year they raised a single chick – Lachlan. 

In 2018, all three of the pair’s eggs were taken by a pine marten. 

In 2019, they successfully raised two female chicks – Rannoch and Mallie.

Loch Arkaig was the last known breeding site of ospreys in Britain before the species was wiped out around the time of the First World War. 

The species has been making a gradual comeback since returning to Loch Garten on Speyside in the 1950s.

Speaking about the nest camera, George Anderson, of Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “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.”