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Osprey chicks to be named by public as genders revealed

Lewis Pate/WTML

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

Bird enthusiasts are being asked to help name three osprey chicks that found fame on a live-stream nest camera during lockdown.

Checks over the past few days have confirmed the trio at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in the Highlands are two males and a female.

The chicks, which are barely five weeks old, have been watched by over a quarter of a million fans around the world on the camera.

Last year, the camera attracted an audience of 60,000 viewers but this has shot up to 290,000 viewers so far this year, with almost two million individual visits to the webpage.

George Anderson, of Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “Some people follow it all day every day.

“We have heard time and again from people who are shielding that it has helped keep them sane.”

Mr Anderson said the chicks were ringed at the end of last week and measurements taken at the time suggest they are two males and a female.

He explained: “It comes down to weight plus measurements of the beak, talon and wing size.”

Woodland Trust Scotland bought Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in 2016 in partnership with local group Arkaig Community Forest.

Osprey pair Louis and Aila first nested at the site in 2017 and have returned every year since.

People are now being asked to help name the pair’s chicks, with the naming discussion and vote taking place across Woodland Trust’s social media channels this week.

The have each been given tag numbers with male chick JJ6, hatched on May 29, described as the calm, patient one.

Female chick JJ8, hatched on June 1, is dubbed the born leader, while the other male chick JJ7, which emerged from its shell on June 3, is described as the feisty one which was “small and had to be assertive to survive”.

The birds are expected to take their first flights by the end of the month before migrating south towards the end of August.

The camera is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and has been streaming footage of the birds online since 2017.

Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We’re delighted our players’ funding has provided a window into this incredible osprey family, giving much needed support to so many people during this strange summer.

“The naming of the chicks adds a bit of extra fun, so we hope everyone will come up with good suggestions and take part in the eventual vote.

“And we still have a couple of months left to enjoy watching our osprey family before they leave on migration.”

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