Young sea eagle seen again in Scotland

This 2013 video from Scotland is called Mull Charters – White-tailed Sea Eagle Fishing.

From Wildlife Extra:

Sona, the lucky White-tailed Eagle, turns up unexpectedly in south west Scotland

A young White-tailed Eagle that hit the headlines last year when her dramatic nest eviction was caught on camera, has caused a new stir after choosing Dumfries and Galloway as her latest stamping ground.

The bird, nicknamed Sona or Lucky in Gaelic, had to be returned to her nest on the island of Mull by Forestry Commission Scotland climbers last June after being attacked by an intruding eagle and falling 30ft to the ground.

This video from Scotland says about itself:

A dramatic sequence indeed: An immature White-tailed Eagle lands on a branch next to the nest. The chick starts to call repeatedly. At 1min 45secs the immature WTE jumps into the nest. There follows a tense stand-off. At 4mins 30secs the chick is forced from the nest, and falls 30ft to the ground. The intruder starts to eat the food.

This video from Scotland says about itself:

The male (Cuin) arrives with a fish, food for what he believes is his chick. However the intruding immature WTE reacts extremely aggressively, taking Cuin by surprise. This short fracas ends up with Cuin hanging upside down over the nest edge while still holding on to the fish. He then breaks free, only to return a short while later to try and evict the immature WTE…. He fails and again flies off. He returns later and lands on the branch next to the nest constantly calling for his own chick. Possibly hearing the chick below on the ground, he flies off. – continued in “White-tailed Eagle 29/06/14 – Nest Invasion Part 3″.

This video from Scotland says about itself:

White-tailed Eagle 28/06/14 – Nest Invasion Part 3

Having established that the chick is on the ground, the immature bird is finally evicted by the male (Cuin) and the female (Sula). The nest is reclaimed. However their chick remains extremely vulnerable on the ground below. FOOTNOTE: The following day the chick was returned to the nest by two Forestry Commission Scotland climbers. A thorough health check confirmed that it was quite unharmed. Of course the chick’s fate would have been quite different if it wasn’t for the live camera on the nest and the “eagle eye” of RSPB Mull Officer, Dave Sexton.

The Wildlife Extra article continues:

The behaviour … had never been recorded before and was a surprise to the experts.

Now Sona has provided a further surprise this January after being repeatedly sighted in the south west corner of Scotland, where White-tailed Eagles haven’t bred for over 150 years.

Dave Sexton, RSPB Scotland Mull Officer, says: “We know this bird well after all the drama last summer, and I’m extremely relieved to hear that she’s alive and apparently healthy.

“We got her back into her nest uninjured after her dangerous fall, and she fledged a few weeks later. But that’s often the last we’ll see of these young eagles, as they wander quite widely in their first few years.

“It’s unusual to have so many sightings of a juvenile like this in Dumfries and Galloway, even though it’s perfect eagle habitat.

“She’s gone from the Isle of Mull to the Mull of Galloway, probably via the Mull of Kintyre, so she clearly likes to mull things over!”

Sona was one of the stars of the BBC’s Springwatch in 2014. She was just eight-weeks old when she was forced from her nest on FCS land on Mull.

A member of the public, who had been watching the nest webcam, alerted the Mull Eagle Watch team to the truth behind her tumble, allowing the dramatic footage to come to light.

It was also members of the public who spotted the bird in Dumfries and Galloway, and their photographs and film sent to the RSPB identified her.

Chris Rollie, RSPB Scotland area manager for Dumfries and Galloway, says: “We’d heard reports of White-tailed Eagle sightings from several Wigtownshire locations in the last few weeks, and thanks to her leg rings and local birdwatcher Brian Henderson’s photography, we were able to positively identify her as the lucky Mull bird.

“As you can imagine, people have been very excited. White-tailed Eagles are such distinctive birds and it’s an absolute pleasure to see one.

“They haven’t bred in Dumfries and Galloway since 1856 and Sona will probably move on to another area before long. But it gives you a real glimpse of what the future could be and the hope there is now, just 40 years after their re-introduction, that these magnificent birds could once again be seen in our skies right across Scotland.”

White-tailed Eagles were re-introduced first to Rum in 1975, and quickly spread to nearby islands.

An east-coast re-introduction project began in 2007, with the first chick successfully fledging in 2013.

Sona’s mother, Sula, was a Norwegian bird released in the first year of the east-coast project, showing that the two populations are now starting to come together to breed.

Sula, and her mate Cuin, will once again be the stars of the Mull Eagle Watch webcam (provided by Carnyx Wild) this year, and you can also visit them in person through organised trips starting in April.

6 thoughts on “Young sea eagle seen again in Scotland

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