Despite Covid-19 and storms

Ringing Osprey on a German high-tension pylon

Releasing Osprey in Switzerland never faced as many challenges as this year. We even feared that the Covid-19 pandemic and several storms in the north of Europe might force us to cancel at least part of this year’s programme. However, thanks to great efforts by all our partners, we are happy to report that we finally managed to import 12 chicks (6 from Germany and 6 from Norway).

Terrible weather in Norway made it particularly difficult for Rune Aae and his team to ring and collect young birds this year. Due to Covid-19 there were no direct flights to bring them from Oslo to Switzerland, so they had to be flown to Frankfurt airport, and from there travel by road. Great thanks go to Hans Bakkland of SAS Cargo, Marianne Imhof of Global Pet Moving, Rene Belgar of Gradlyn-The Animal Travel Agency, and Markus Häring of Interfracht for their valuable help in getting all the paperwork done to make it work. If anyone needs help in moving animals from one country to another, these are definitely the people to rely on!

In Germany Daniel Schmidt-Rothmund, Holger Gabriel (yellow helmet in the photo) and Mario Firla collected 6 chicks with their legendary efficiency. Many thanks to them, and also to the electricity company Mitnetz Strom which allow them to do their important scientific and conservation work in total security.

In Moselle, bad weather – and maybe also lack of experience – sadly caused the failure of the first breeding attempt of Mouche (PR4). David Meyer, who had observed that at least one chick had hatched, informed us that the nest had been abandoned, although the pair has remained in the area. As Osprey often pair for life, let’s hope that both adults will successfully return from migration next year and breed again.

In the meantime, our 12 young birds in Switzerland are doing well, enjoying lots of fresh fish generously provided by local professional fishermen, and well taken care of by a great project team.