Watching an osprey plunge feet first into a loch to catch a fish is a truly memorable Scottish wildlife experience.

It seems strange that this beautiful bird, now so popular, had been persecuted to the brink of extinction in Britain by the early 20th century.

Recolonisation occurred in 1954 at the site where you can still view ospreys today, Loch Garten RSPB reserve. The other long-standing osprey viewing location in Scotland is the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve.

Ospreys have since spread slowly but steadily in Scotland. There are now thought to be between 250 and 300 breeding pairs and this number is increasing, especially in Argyll, southern Scotland and parts of the north.

Osprey in flight.

Protection of ospreys

Find out how Scotland’s wild birds are protected.

Learn about birds and licensing.

Read our guidance for planners and developers on protected animals.

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