Six sea eagles have taken their first flight in Scottish skies, marking the end of a successful reintroduction programme.
September 2012. Over the past six years, 85 young birds have been released from a secret location in Fife in a bid to restore the species to its former range in eastern Scotland. Each bird has been fitted with a radio and wing tags so both project staff and the public can follow their future progress.
Once a regular sight in Scotland's skies, the sea eagle was driven to extinction in the Victorian era. It only returned to the UK following a successful reintroduction to the West of Scotland, on the Island of Rum in 1975. Although the majority of the Scottish population remains on the west of the country, the species is now regularly spotted in Eastern and Central Scotland too.
The partnership, which consists of RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland, with additional financial support from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Fife and Rural Tayside LEADER 2007-2013 Programme, now hope the birds will begin to produce young on Scotland's east coast in the coming years.
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "We have been pleased to support this project over the last six years. The return of sea eagles to the skies of Scotland's east coast marks an important step in ensuring we now have a viable population of these magnificent birds. As well as fulfilling a role in our ecosystems, the birds are an important feature for our growing nature -based tourism industry."
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.