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Osprey Ilmar

Text: Urmas Sellis, ESTLAT Eagle projekti coordinaator
Photos: Joosep Tuvi, ESTLAT Eagles project osprey specialist
Translation: Liis

When we tried to catch osprey Ilmar three weeks ago in order to relieve him of the old, not working transmitter on his back, it did not succeed. Now, in the night of August 9th (with +24 degrees of warmth outdoors) we prepared a new attempt and managed to attract Ilmar into the net. How this was done in principle can be seen in Jürgen’s photos in the forum.

Portrait of Ilmar

The transmitter on Ilmar’s back had become silent already in May, but while there were eggs or small chicks in the nest we did not want to go and disturb nest life. Now the chicks have fledged and it is obviously the best time for catching adults. Older chicks will not suffer from not being brought fish for a few hours. Ilmar, caught and freed from the transmitter in the morning, returned again with fish to the nest  only in the evening. In the following days the chicks were supplied with fish as usual.
Ilmar’s feathers were so worn under the transmitter that they had almost no dark colour left; it was as if the transmitter had become cover for the body instead of the feathers. Probably the white patch on Ilmar’s back will disappear when the old feathers are replaced with new ones. Hopefully we will see in the web camera whether it will happen next year. We examined the base of the fastening bands thoroughly: there were no skin or feather lesions. The polymer cover of the transmitter itself was in a quite poor condition and was certainly no longer waterproof.

Ilmar’s old transmitter, with damaged cover

There is not much point in installing a new transmitter on Ilmar since nearly one year of his life has been observed. There may be reason to reconsider using a transmitter again in a few years time.
Veterinarian Madis Leivits examined Ilmar and concluded that his physical condition, considering the current phase of life (feeding chicks) was surprisingly good, from the fat reserves of the bird it might be surmised that he has not had chicks this year.

Madis making a veterinary checkup of Ilmar, Urmas assisting

We also changed the plastic ring U6 on Ilmar’s left leg since the new rings should be better resistant to UV radiation. Now Ilmar has a black ring with a white stripe on his left leg, with the code AF. The ring on the right leg remained the same as before (ESTONIA MATSALU A-10137).

Ilmar’s new set of rings

To start with ilmar might find flying without the transmitter somewhat strange but he will get used to it