Our fears are confirmed

I was hoping I would have good news to report today, but sadly not. Late last night I received a text message from Farid Lacroix saying that he had found found 09’s body on the ridge in southern Morocco and retrieved the satellite transmitter. Mobile signal in the area is very limited and so we will have to wait until Farid returns to Agadir later today for the full story (including the cause of death).

This is really sad news, but it confirms what we had expected. It also demonstrates that even an experienced Osprey like 09 – who has migrated the equivalent of three times round the world in his lifetime – is not immune to the dangers of the 3000 mile flight to West Africa.  Migration is an incredibly demanding time for the birds, whether juveniles or adults, and our satellite-tracking studies are proving that.

The project is very grateful to Farid for his efforts in getting to what is clearly a very remote, inhospitable place. In his text message Farid said, ‘it was very hard to climb this mountain’ and you only have to look at the aerial photo below, to appreciate that. It will be very interesting to see his photos once he is back in Agadir.  As I said in the last update, the response we have had to our appeal for help has been remarkable – a second search team, led by wildlife film-maker Faouzi Lahoucine was due to set out today. Having prepared for the trip, they are still going to go in order to film the area for us. There are few things that have the potential to link communities across the world, like bird migration; and the efforts of people we have never met before, demonstrate that.

An aerial view of the location in southern Morocco where 09 was found

The recent advances in satellite-tracking have made it possible to follow the migrations of Ospreys and other migratory birds in unprecedented detail and in the past year thousands of people, from all over the world, have followed 09 on his remarkable journeys between Rutland and Senegal. Over the years he has become a real favourite at Rutland Water. Having been translocated to the reservoir in 1998, he returned two years later and then spent the next twelve summers attempting to attract a mate. So when he finally reared two chicks for the first time this summer, it was cause for real celebration. Let’s just hope that at least one of those chicks survives the rigours of migration and and makes it back to Rutland in a couple of years’ time.

Farid will be sending more detailed news and some photos once he is back in Agadir and so we’ll be sure to post them on the site as soon as we receive them – hopefully over the weekend.

09(98) and his first-ever family this summer

18 responses to “Our fears are confirmed”

  1. Linda Jones

    Thanks for letting us know, Tim. Sad but expected news. The support we’ve had from friends to find out what happened is amazing. Thank you to them. This shows the uphill struggle to enable Ospreys to thrive and must make us even more determined to do all we can to help them achieve that at Rutland, in other parts of the UK and on their migration routes.

  2. julie

    So sad for 09lets hope is babes are ok

  3. LM

    Such sad news, I am so sorry for you all! A big thank you to Tim, and all who did what they could to find out what happened to 09.

  4. Wendy Cox

    How very sad for you all but how marvellous that Farid was able to climb up and find 09. What an inhospitable terrain. We await the further news and a big thank you to all.

  5. Sally W

    Very sad news, but what a remarkable team effort to find out what had happened.

  6. Valerie Webber

    Tim and all at Rutland I am so sad for you all but at least the wondering is over and you know he is resting in peace now , it is so amazing what people do , thinking of you all at his sad time

  7. Cath

    Thoughts are with you at this sad time, you do a wonderful job for the Ospreys and I know this will be a great loss to you and your team.


    As a lifelong fan of the osprey, it is always sad to hear news like this. When you see the power and majesty of these wonderful birds taking a fish in the wild, it is so easy to forget how fragile and vulnerable they are. I send my condolences to all who have committed so much to the welfare of 09 over his lifetime and let’s hope that his offspring manage to overcome the odds that are stacked against them and bring joy for years to come.

  9. Alison

    Gutted for you all. Thank you to these wonderful people who made the difficult journey to find him. It is amazing the links and friendships that are formed through these wonderful birds. At least we know now and I am so pleased that he was able to have one season of being a family man. It’s just so sad that he can’t have any more. Thinking of you all at RW.

  10. Christine Coates

    So sorry to read that you had the worst possible news on 09. At least it is resolution to the question. Will you be fitting more devices next year, having also lost AW last winter?

  11. Jillian

    Gutted as well,I hope that one of his chicks makes it as well and that 09 can be burried somewhere in Africa more pleasant that this landscape where he lost his life.

  12. Ray Ivison

    Really sorry to hear the sad news. And a very big thank you to all the people who give their time and effort to this project.

  13. Patricia Selman

    I am so sad for 09 and all his followers and “carers” at Rutland but so pleased that he had a successful season and live in hopes that we will see his offspring(s) one day…….such wonderful support too from the people “on the ground” in Morocco

  14. Paul

    Yes sad indeed. Although we all know that these fabulous birds face difficult challenges on each of their migrations many beating the odds, it is always a sad day when such news arrives. We are becoming so attached to them through your and fellow projects great work, the blogs and the web cams bring them, into our homes

  15. Karen

    How very sad for 09 after finally managing to have a family of his own this year. Maybe that took it out of him and he wasn’t as fit this year for the migration? Thanks to Farid for looking for him.

  16. Bacuez Frederic

    Expected but so sad ! Try to know why and how 09 died, I think it is very important. Did Farid take the body or feathers coming back to Agadir ?
    Regards. Frederic.

  17. Sue Doran

    So sad to hear this but I am uplifted by the dedication and determination of the people who help Ospreys who go to such lengths for a single bird. Thanks to everyone, especially Farid. x

  18. Mary

    Another big ‘Thank You’ to Farid! What a champ!
    A little consolation perhaps, in that 09 helped another creature to survive in that arid wilderness.