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.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Sea eagle numbers in Scotland predicted to soar

13 October 2016

Numbers of white-tailed eagles, also known as sea eagles, could rise from 106 pairs of birds to 221 pairs in less than 10 years, a new study claims.

Research commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) predicted the growth to the year 2025 and beyond.

By 2040, the researchers suggested there could potentially be between 889 and 1,005 pairs.
However, the study added the top figure may not be reached because of a lack of suitable territory.

There have been three release phases to re-establish the large bird of prey, which became extinct in Scotland in 1917.

Two releases occurred on Scotland's west coast - on Rum from 1975 to 1985 and in Wester Ross. The third release was in Fife on the east coast from 2007 to 2012. 

The report, authored by researchers at RSPB's Centre for Conservation Science, modelled a range of scenarios to predict the potential size of the sea eagle population, including scenarios with no limits on population growth. 

Other scenarios included limits such as availability of suitable habitat, food and nest sites.

The return of sea eagles, the UK's largest bird of prey, to Scotland, and also increases in their numbers, have been the subject of fierce debate.

The eagles attract wildlife tourists to remote and rural parts of the Highlands and Islands.
But some farmers and crofters in these areas have told of the raptors taking lambs.

Five years ago, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) raised concerns about whether sea eagles could differentiate between children and their natural prey.

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