An osprey chick being snatched from its nest by a buzzard has been captured in dramatic video footage.
The clipshows the chick’s mother flying away from the nest and a buzzard swooping in.
Rural businessowner Euan Webster saw the chick being taken by the buzzard at his property Lochter in Aberdeenshire. The chick was one of two that had hatched at the nest.
The half eaten carcass of the osprey chick was recovered near the nest earlier this week and it was confirmed on Wednesday that it is to be handed over to SASA (Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture, the ScottishGovernment laboratories) for proper analysis.
Mr Webster has 24/7 video surveillance on the nest for both wildlife watching for the enjoyment of the public in addition to protecting the rare ospreys.
He said: “This was a shocking act and clearly demonstrates why something needs to be done to control buzzards. It cannot be right that the buzzard remains protected yet they swarm over the countryside in large numbers eating prey, including iconic and beautiful birds such as ospreys, at will.
“Any farmer or shepherd will tell you about the threat from buzzards yet the powers that be are reluctant to face up to the fact that sooner rather than later measures have to put in place to control them. This incident should sound alarm bells among those who care about the conservation of our rarer wild birds such as ospreys in Scotland.
“As a former chairman of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Grampian regional group I am an enthusiastic believer in balanced and managed conservation. I know research by the trust is suggesting buzzards are active predators that may well be affecting conservation of birds in some parts of Scotland.
“However, I was not prepared to have buzzards active predatory behaviours so clearly demonstrated right under my nose. It would be a great shame if we could not find a way to reduce the very clear predation pressure from this now ubiquitous predator.”
Buzzard numbers have been growing steadily since the 1980s and numbers in Scotland are now at record levels.
Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, said: “While previous reports of such predation have been brushed off by those who do not like the reality of what is happening in the countryside, this video provides the sad but clear and conclusive evidence of the serious impact that this growing population of buzzards is now having.
“The time has surely come for common sense to prevail and for measures to be introduced to be able to properly protect these wild birds and other species that we value so highly. The need to strike a proper balance is now well overdue.”