Buzzard menace

Staff at Lochter Activity Centre, Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, got a shock when they saw that a buzzard was responsible for eating an osprey chick that was nesting at the centre.

Video footage shows a buzzard swooping down to the nest and picking off one of two osprey chicks as their mother tried to turn to drive the assailant away.

It was the first time the chick’s parents had returned to the nesting site in several years. Local residents, who had installed video cameras and preserved the nesting area with the hope of the pair returning, now fear for the safety of the single surviving chick.

This comes not long after the government’s much-maligned u-turn on a study into methods of buzzard control.

Alex Hogg, chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, said: “This incident, unfortunately, will come as no surprise to anyone who operates daily in the countryside. It is not just ospreys but endangered birds on the conservation list, like waders, that are under increasing pressure of predation from buzzards.

“Buzzard numbers have reached record heights and, for the good of other wild birds and for Scotland’s biodiversity, something needs to be done to restore a balance.

“If nothing is put in place to redress an issue which has clearly moved beyond a tipping point, the loser will be Scotland’s skies and its wild bird population.”

Watch the footage online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LWxWQ4PmCk.

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