From Wildlife Extra:
Scottish Golden eagles breeding unusually young
September 2013. Normally, golden eagles breed for the first time from four to six years old. Only once before has a three-year-old eagle been confirmed to lay eggs, and that was in southeast Spain.
This new information about the breeding behaviour of golden eagles was discovered through a satellite tagging project run by the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Natural Research and the RSPB.
Two satellite transmitters were attached to young golden eagles in Galloway and Strathspey in July 2010. Two young females laid eggs this year, at just three years old, having mated with older males in the Scottish Borders and Aberdeenshire.
Roy Dennis, Director of the Foundation, said: “This is very exciting, as it is the first proof in Scotland that golden eagles can breed at three years. It shows that when they live in areas with plenty of food and little competition, golden eagles can breed at three years old. Unfortunately, the eggs did not hatch but that is not surprising for such young individuals.”
Professor Des Thompson of SNH, who chairs the group running the work, added: “Both areas where these young Scottish golden eagles have bred were previously identified as having several unoccupied territories. Previous research has pointed to a link between persecution and younger golden eagles managing to secure territories and attempting to breed. The shortage of older females may explain why such young birds have managed to breed. Provided the right conditions now prevail – persecution free, good availability of prey, good weather, and appropriate habitat – then we hope that these birds will attempt to nest again next year and young will fledge. This would signal the start of an upturn of the fortune of golden eagles in these areas.”
The golden eagle is the UK’s second largest bird of prey and has a wing span of around two metres. Immature eagles are readily distinguished from older birds as they have more white areas on the central wing and inner tail.
September 2013. For the first time in almost two centuries white-tailed sea eagles have bred in the east of mainland Scotland. Conservationists confirmed that a pair released in 2009 as part of a successful reintroduction project, have raised one chick in a Forestry Commission Scotland wood in Fife: here.
- Young eagles lay eggs for first time in Scotland (scotsman.com)
- New Scottish wildlife app (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Reintroduced eagle pair raise chick (bbc.co.uk)
- Pair of white-tailed sea eagles are first to breed in east of Scotland for 200 years (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- White-tailed sea eagles breed successfully on UK shores for the first time in 200 years (standard.co.uk)
- Good Irish eagle news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)