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.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

What future do Scotland's white-tailed eagles face?

By Stephen Moss, Naturalist 

Britain's biggest bird of prey was nearly knocked out of our skies for good almost a century ago. 

The sight of the white-tailed eagle's impressive two-metre wingspan in our skies was eventually saved by a reintroduction scheme in Scotland. 

But, even as its recovery is being hailed as a conservation success, the mighty bird may be under threat once again. 

The population remains small, vulnerable and limited to just one area of the country. Will the eagles ever spread their giant wings beyond Scotland? 

Island pride 

Widespread throughout Great Britain and Ireland since the Dark Ages, it is estimated that up to 90% of the birds were lost by the time of the Industrial Revolution. 
Photo credit: RSPB 

Destruction of habitat and human persecution drove the species to extinction in the early part of the 20th Century, when the last pair nested on Skye. 

The bird's reintroduction to Scotland, which began almost half a century ago with an attempt to put the species back on Fair Isle has, on the face of it, been a huge success. 

A recent report by the RSPB, 'Wildlife at Work', estimated that 'eagle tourism' contributes up to £5 million to the economy of the island of Mull each year. 

It also brings less tangible, but equally important, benefits. 

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