Ospreys Give TITP The Bird

Scotland’s massively popular T in the Park Festival appears in danger of not happening as a pair of ospreys have set up a nest on the Strathallan Estate site.

Photo: Gareth Rasberry / Wikimedia
Fly like an eagle

The large bird of prey is provided the highest possible protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and it is a criminal offense to disturb them during the nesting and breeding season. The two birds, known locally as Earl and Countess, had originally been tempted away by the construction of a new custom-built nest further from the festival site. However, the pair appear to have returned to their original home, which would mean the festival would need to set up a buffer zone of 2,500 feet around the nest.

If such a zone was set up, it would be impossible for the festival to take place at Strathallan. The argument over Earl and Countess hinges on whether they’ve just gone back to visit the old place or actually moved in. The ospreys were allegedly seen on their long-term roost near the Perthshire estate April 6, while Scottish TV news reports that festival organiser DF Concerts has been trying to lure them back to their new home.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Scotland said wildlife organisation is “fully satisfied” the birds have returned to the old nest. Strathallan T Action Group (or STAG), an action group made up of local residents opposed to the new festival site, claims the arrival of the ospreys “rules out” the festival happening there. DF is not convinced.

“We can confirm that Osprey have returned to Strathallan but the expert opinion of our ornithologist is that they have not yet nested,” DF Concerts said in a statement. “The RSPB believes that the previous nest is active and as such, close monitoring via the cherrypicker has been removed and we will continue to liaise with the relevant organisations to ensure the protection of the birds.

“We will also provide an update when the chosen location of the birds becomes clear. “In the meantime, we’d also like to assure fans that the festival will go ahead. The decision on our planning application will still be made in May and we remain confident that the event will take place at Strathallan,” DF continued. Apart from monitoring the site with a cherypicker, DF has also been accused of driving a tractor up and down the road honking its horn.

RSPB Scotland has said the promoter’s efforts to shoo the birds back to their purpose-built nest are “unethical and unacceptable,” although not illegal. The festival regularly sells out its 85,000 capacity. This year’s lineup July 10-12 includes Noel Gallagher’s High Flying BirdsThe Libertines, and Kasabian.