Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 11:20 UK

Birds' egg thieves given warning

The female osprey [Michael Davison]
The osprey arrived back at Loch of the Lowes on Sunday

A warning has been issued to potential egg thieves following the return of an elderly osprey to Perthshire.

The female bird has been nesting at the Loch of the Lowes nature reserve near Dunkeld since 1991.

She flew back there on Sunday and has already mated. Workers are hoping that she will produce three chicks.

Wildlife crime officers will be patrolling the reserve and other areas to track down anyone trying to steal birds' eggs.

'Strange hobby'

Alan Stewart, from Tayside Police, said: "Most of them are quite good field ornithologists, but they want to take eggs and stick them in a drawer and look at them over the winter time.

"It's a very strange hobby and I can never understand it.

"We always have targeted patrols, some of these will be off-road, so egg thieves better be on their guard because we're looking for them."

He added that egg thieves were ever present, but recent operations had considerably reduced their number.

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