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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Osprey missing food of love
Osprey - generic picture
Scotland boasts 130 mating pairs of osprey

An osprey is in danger of producing no eggs for a second successive season because her partner is more interested in catching food for himself than breeding.

Olive met her would-be mate at a reserve at Loch Garten in Abernethy, in the Highlands.

Hopes were high that romance would blossom, especially after her relationship with a five-year-old male foundered last month.

But RSPB Scotland has now said it does not hold out much hope that the pair will consummate their relationship.

Loch Garten site manager Richard Thaxton said: "Male ospreys need to have three basic skills in life.

Olive's time is running out again and it is really hard to watch this soap opera being played out in front of our very eyes
Richard Thaxton,
RSPB Scotland

"They need to be able to get fish for the female, mate, and defend their territory.

"Unfortunately, this new male only seems to know how to defend the territory.

"This means he is not getting fish, and the mating side seems to be a bit problematic for him."

Mr Thaxton described the next 14 days as critical and said the male would have to "get his act together".

Olive needs two fish a day but, in order to lay eggs, her partner has to assume the responsibility for catching food.

"This is quite a worry," Mr Thaxton said.


"Olive's time is running out again and it is really hard to watch this soap opera being played out in front of our very eyes."

On one recent occasion visitors witnessed the young male bring back a fish to Olive - only to start eating it for himself.

An RSPB spokesman said a young girl shouted, to no avail: "Just give her the fish!"

Olive's long-term mate Ollie failed to return to the reserve last year.

She has already seen 18 of her chicks fledge over the last 10 years and has become a popular and well-known annual visitor to the reserve.

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