Every young Osprey has its own character, with some being particularly memorable. Arthur (F12), a male released in 2018, seemed to court disaster from the start. Named after King Arthur due the crown-like design on his head, he was collected from the most difficult nest ever reached by Norwegian Osprey expert Rune Aae.
In Switzerland, where he shared a cage with Roger (F01), Arthur first distinguished himself when he “fell” off a perch twice before jumping back on it – the only time we have ever seen this. When both birds were released on August 1, Roger fledged early in the morning and landed straight onto a nearby nest platform, while Arthur spent nearly the entire day perched on the open cage door. He finally took off in the early evening, landing on an electricity cable where he precariously balanced for 10 minutes before finally perching on a pylon for the night. The next day, rather than collect food at our “fish restaurant” as all young Osprey do, he first tried stealing a fish from another bird but failed.
On August 5, an exceptionally hot day with temperatures reaching 34°, Arthur suddenly landed on the ground at the edge of a small wetland, making no effort to fly away. Fortunately thanks to the small radio transmitter which all our released birds are equipped with, we quickly found him and put him back in the aviary, and two days later he was re-released.
However, on September 1 he got himself into another predicament, somehow managing to get his right foot caught between his tail and the transmitter antenna. While he could fly and even come to feed, he was tangled up for many hours before he was able to free himself. After this last mis-adventure he then migrated on September 4, 2018, which was the last news we had of him until May 14, 2020, when Pierre Béguin discovered him 13 km from the release site. Considering his past, we would not have guessed that Arthur would be the first bird back from the “class of 2018”. Let’s just hope that his adolescence will be easier than his childhood!