Monday, 3 March 2014

A Further Guide to Osprey-Related Ilnesses

I've never been entirely happy with the word “ospreyitis”. In strict biological terms, this would have to mean “painful, inflamed and swollen ospreys” - not only very unpleasant in itself but almost certainly a contravention of the Wildlife & Countryside Act as well. However, the name has stuck so, for what little it's worth, here is the WlW guide to osprey-related conditions, their etiology, causes and treatments...

A seasonal disorder characterised by the patient identifying any flying creature, from a hawk-moth to a harpy eagle, as an osprey. May be transmitted from one person to another. There is no known treatment.

Folie Haliaetus: 

A neuropsychiatric condition whereby people in bird hides feel compelled to start talking complete nonsense whenever the subject of ospreys is mentioned. Typical symptoms include “An osprey cannot let go of a fish after it's caught one, so could get pulled under and drowned.” “Osprey eyesight is ten times better than a human's.” “All ospreys migrate at the same time, following each other so they know where to go.” (etc). Symptoms may be alleviated by poking the patient in the eye with a sharpened stick or equivalent.


Pathological sleep-deprivation caused by worrying about what ospreys are going to do next. (Trample on their eggs... fall out of the nest... get wet... etc.) Most acute during the breeding season but can occur at any time. Medication is ineffective, but the symptoms may be alleviated by striking the patient over the head with a blunt instrument.

Corns Dyfi: 

A painful affliction of the feet caused by walking around Welsh marshland looking for ospreys.

An inexplicable enlargement of the nether regions and buttocks caused by sitting immobile in front of a computer monitor for five months. Treatment: android tablets.

Rutland Water:

An uncomfortable and potentially dangerous distension of the bladder and/or urethra. Caused by the patient's unwillingness to go the the lavatory in case he/she misses anything interesting on the nestcams. Treatment: plastic bucket or unused soup tureen.