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Rangers from Forestry Commission Scotland and the RSPB have used ropes and expert climbing techniques to ensure the Tweed Valley ospreys have a nest to return to.
Early this Spring, before the birds made their 1,500 mile flight from Africa back to the Borders, rebuilding work on the long established artificial nest had to be undertaken.
The only way to get to the nest, which is perched on top of a 40ft tree, was to use hi-tech ropes and pulley systems, the same gear used by specialist climbers.
Previous heavy snowfalls and extreme winter conditions had left the nest battered and leaning at a very steep angle. Before the rebuild, the main branch supporting the nest had also snapped leaving the nest in a perilous state.
Tony Lightley, Conservation Manager with Forestry Commission Scotland said:
“It’s brilliant news that the ospreys are back in town. These birds have just completed a fantastic return journey from West Africa, arriving back in the Tweed Valley hopefully to breed and fledge chicks again.
“The least we can do to help their success is sweep the winter cobwebs away and ensure the nest is secure for them.”
Both conservation experts were able to reach the topmost branches and cut away the dangerous old nest. The new artificial nest was then rebuilt into the tree, and live-image cameras were switched back on to watch for the birds’ return.
Tony added: “We only just got it completed in time, as a few days later, the pair of ospreys were seen back on the nest, bringing in branches to add of their own. I’d also like to thank volunteers for their help in rebuilding the nest”.
Ospreys have been nesting in the Tweed Valley for more than 15 years. The Tweed Valley Ospreys Project, a partnership between the Commission, Kailzie Gardens and RSPB Scotland, has helped safeguard the birds and allowed the public to enjoy them through two viewing centres.
The visitor centres at Glentress Forest and Kailzie Gardens are open to the public again from the Easter weekend and members of the public are invited to come and see a range of wildlife in the Tweed valley as well as the breeding ospreys.
If you have an interest in supporting the project or to ask further questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. More details about the Tweed Valley ospreys can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/tweedvalleyospreys.
Notes to news editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.