14 January 2014

Adios Caledonia

Roy Dennis' team have colour ringed more than 1500 young Ospreys since 1966 and in 2007 they started using GPS tracking devices to 'fill in' the gaps left by colour-ringing alone. These satellite devices enable live monitoring of individuals and have revealed entire migration routes, identified stop-over sites and disclosed previously unknown hazards for different species. At Loch Garten 12 Ospreys chicks have been fitted with satellite tags and their movements are followed by many online fans and reserve staff. The 12 birds have been named and their return to their birth place as breeding adults is much awaited.

Sadly, the fifth day of the new year brought bad news to Roy Dennis, Loch Garten and all the Osprey fans, as Caledonia, a female bird ringed and satellite-tagged in 2012, had been found dead in Spain. We now know that Juan Antonio Martínez Martín, a member of SEO/Birdlife, found Caledonia dead in the garden of a convent in Seville, where it had hit some cables and killed itself during thick morning fog.

All photos thanks to Jesús Fernández
 At Loch Garten, the return of Caledonia was expected with excitement as this should be only three months away. She seemed to be a 'very safe' Osprey, having spent several days in the Guadalquivir River area where she eventually died, and had travelled the same route that saw her sad end before. The Guadalquivir River basin in south west Spain is used as wintering grounds or stop-over by many species including Ospreys.






San Clemente convent, by the Guadalquivir River, where caledonia was found.

The RSPB Community is devastated with the loss of Caledonia, they have posted photographs of her and told their own personal memories here.

This little story highlights the hazards that large birds face, in particular the iconic Osprey. They tend to attract the love and attention of the public, even reserves and conservation measures are established across countries for their benefit. However, in their lifetime, they not only need to overcome the natural elements, they also have to overcome the barriers that we put for them, for their home ranges expand beyond the reserves.

In the UK and Ireland 189 Ospreys were ringed in 2012, and in that year we received 134 reports of BTO-ringed Ospreys found in other countries. To find out more about ringing totals in the UK and Ireland, visit the Online Ringing reports.

Finding locations of Ospreys ringed in the UK and Ireland (purple)
and ringing location of birds later found in the UK and Ireland (yellow).
Thank you to Juan Antonio Martínez Martín for finding and reporting the bird, to Jesús Pinilla and Arantza Leal from SEO/Birdlife for providing further finding details, to Roy Dennis for ringing the bird and to Jesús Fernández for the photos.

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