First known Albino Osprey Chick Hatches at Urdaibai Biosphere Park

The Urdaibai Osprey Nest is one of the nests that Roy Dennis helped to establish in Northern Spain. According to Dennis, he tagged a breeding female near his home in Moray, Scotland and named her Logie. She had one of the new GPS transmitters so the local school children could follow her travels just like Belle in the book, Belle’s Journey. What did they learn? Well, she spent her first winter in the Bijagos Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, an island off the coast of west Africa. She set off on her spring migration to return to Scotland on 12 March. She had good weather til she got to Basque Country in northern Spain. The winds were blowing to the west and there was heavy rain. She stayed there waiting out the bad weather from 29 March to 7 April on the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, north of Bilbao. Knowing her location, Dennis asked someone to look for her and his call was answered by a local biologist who took photographs and send them to Dennis. Logie was eating a fish she had caught. The pair, Dennis and Aitor Galarza, stayed in touch. Galarza visited Dennis in Scotland because he wanted to learn about breeding Ospreys and they got to talking about translocation. In October, Dennis traveled to Spain to see the places where Logie had stopped over.

The next year, more Ospreys stopped over on their spring migrations and to make a long story a little shorter, Aitor received funding and authorisations to set up a reintroduction programme of Osprey to the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve in 2013. Dennis got permissions and licenses to collect 12 young Ospreys per year for five years and move them to Urdaibai. During the five years, as planned, Aitor and Dennis moved sixty young Osprey from Scotland to Basque Country in Spain.

The males, of course, returned to their nests in Basque country after their migrations but, at the beginning, these translocated boys could not attract females to stay with them. Then a male in 2017 managed to attract a migrant female in September. The rest is history as they say. This is nothing but the briefest of overviews. If you have Roy Dennis’s book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding Our Skies, Woods, and Waterways you can read all of the details on pages 314-16.

The Spanish government also prepared a detailed report about the reintroduction of Ospreys with other information about Osprey populations in Europe. For those of you that love detail like I do, here is the link to that report:

This little albino hatched on 2 June at 8:47 and is the first known Albino Osprey in the world. From the look on the one parent’s eyes they might be wondering what they are seeing since the white down and the pink eyes and beak stand out against the nest materials. Of course, that is precisely the problem for this little one. It ‘stands out’ and so predators can see it easier than its two older siblings with their typical Osprey plumage. Its eyes could be sensitive to light that could also cause issues as an adult but the truth is – this is new Osprey territory and a lot will be learned from this precious white bundle.

If you are ever wondering about the egg tooth that chicks have to help them peck through the hard shell, you can see it easily on this little one – it is the white tip end. See the hook? Imagine the chick upside down hammering away with that on a shell.

You can watch this nest here:

Wow, what an exciting morning. I am happy to say that at 6:49:40, Tiny Tot had a fish delivery from Jack. After all the past days of others stealing his fish deliveries it was a delight to see him eating first thing. Tiny really mantled that fish! And no doubt he enjoyed it. It is going to be another scorching hot day in St Petersburg, Florida at 30 degrees C. That nest has to be a lot hotter. There are chances of thunderstorms in the area for the next four days.

Wadsworth flew in with a fish delivery this morning for Electra and the two chicks. He is getting better at these deliveries – maybe he has figured out his responsibilities. I might now continue checking in on this nest. It is in Washington State. One gets so emotionally involved with these nests and, historically, Wadsworth has not been reliable. Fingers crossed. Those are two cute little ones there. And just look. Their tower is located higher than the location where the Ospreys made their nests on the power line. And look, it is right by the water – he doesn’t have to travel far to get the meals for his family!

The Cowlitz Osprey platform was put up in Longview, Washington by the Public Utility District (PUD). They have actually built five platorms. This is number 6141. There are two cameras and one of them has sound.

You can watch this Osprey family here:

To make the day even more special, Iris stopped in at her nest to say hello to all of us this morning! It is just after 6:30. She has a full crop and just look at her. She is keeping herself in prime condition. Well done, Iris – and Iris, it is so nice to see you. Thank you for stopping in!

Thank you for stopping in today to check on Bird World. I will have quick reports on all the UK nests this evening and any unusual happenings during the day.

Thanks to the Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, the Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, and the Urdaibai Biosphere Park for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots.

3 Comments

  1. Hi..thxs for your great coverage
    I saw Iris at the nest from 3 is to 634am today

    She is in great form!! My favorite osprey!!

    1. Oh, thank you. I am so glad that you enjoyed the article. Oh, Iris is one of my great loves, too. She really is the grand dame of all Ospreys. Isn’t it nice that she was at the nest this morning? I am glad she is stopping in and happy that she did not have her eggs hatch and see the chicks die due to you know who.

    2. I have been thinking about you. I wanted to tell you about an Osprey that fledged with a tracker on her back, Solly. She was at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge in Australia. Until that backpack was put on Solly everyone thought that the birds did not fly far from their natal nest. Well, Solly went more than 220 kilometers and helped to rewrite the understanding of the distances Ospreys travel. Everyone is learning so much from the streaming cameras and citizen birders are helping. So it is possible that our beloved Tiny could return to this nest – . That would be grand. Or stay longer. We will have to wait and see.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s