Norwegian sea eagles have landed in Scotland
The donation of between 15 and 20 white-tailed sea eagle chicks originating from Western Norway is a vital part of the reintroduction programme for the UK’s largest and most spectacular bird of prey
The young eagles are the third batch of the five-year East Scotland Sea Eagles (ESSE) reintroduction project and have been kept in ten purpose-built aviaries at a secret location in Fife for almost two months. By mid-August, the eagles will have developed all their flight feathers and will be strong enough to fledge.
ESSE is a partnership between the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland to reintroduce the birds, affectionately known as ‘flying barn doors’ due to their massive eight-foot wing span, to Eastern Scotland. They disappeared from the UK in Victorian times due to human persecution.
Claire Smith, RSPB Scotland sea eagle project officer, said: ‘We have had hundreds of reported sightings and good wishes from people who are thrilled when they see these enormous birds soaring in the sky, back where they belong after being eradicated by man. It is thanks to the generosity of the people of Norway, who are donating all the chicks for this project, that this has been made possible.’
The white-tailed sea eagles have been collected from nests in the Bergen and Ålesund regions in Western Norway. The collection has been brought to Scotland as a result of cooperation between the RSPB and the Norwegian Ornithological Society, and is also supported by the Directorate of Nature who issue the licences for chick collection.
After the reintroduction of the sea eagles, sightings of the enourmous birds have been reported from places as far apart as Shetland and Cumbria.