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This juvenile White-tailed Eagle was one of 16 released in Scotland. Photo by Ken Jack of Ken Jack Agencies.
This juvenile White-tailed Eagle was one of 16 released in Scotland. Photo by Ken Jack of Ken Jack Agencies.Enlarge image

White-tailed Eagles released in Scotland

Posted on: 13 Aug 2011

Birds from a reintroduction programme to bring White-tailed Eagle back to Scotland have been released at a secret location in Fife, RSPB Scotland reports.

The birds arrived from Norway in June and have been living in a specially built aviaries until they were old enough to fledge. The young eagles will now join Scotland’s growing sea eagle population.

White-tailed Eagle was wiped out in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century, and only returned when the first reintroduction scheme began in 1975 on the island of Rum, off the west coast of Scotland. Over a 10-year period, 82 Norwegian birds were released, with the first breeding success recorded in 1985. Another 58 eagles were released on the mainland, with the first successful breeding in 1998. In 2004, the population was around 80-90 individuals residing in 26 different territories.

This latest reintroduction initiative began in 2007, and a total of 80 birds have been released in the east coast of the Scotland. It is part of the East Scotland Sea Eagle project, a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland.

Claire Smith, RSPB Scotland East Scotland Sea Eagle Officer said: “It’s great to see these birds fit, ready and raring to try out those impressive wings for the first time. Each bird has been fitted with a radio and wing-tags, so project staff and the public can follow their progress. For 2011, we’ve chosen red wing-tags with white letters and numbers, and as usual any sightings can be reported to us via email. Every day our older birds are spotted in locations up and down the country and we’re hopeful in the next couple of years the east of Scotland could have its first wild-bred chick.”

Claire Smith, RSPB Scotland’s East Sea Eagle Project Officer releasing a juvenile White-tailed Eagle. Photo by Pauline Johnson of Ken Jack Agencies.

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