Rewilding Success With The Golden Eagle In Scotland

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A pair of golden eagles have successfully bred in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years Golden eagles are widespread throughout Eurasia and North America. They are found at low density in remote areas of the Scottish Highlands and most of the Hebrides.

The enigmatic golden eagle disappeared from England and Wales in the 19th century due to severe persecution. Unfortunately, they are still persecuted today. Golden eagles’ recovery in Scotland has been a painstaking process, with regular setbacks due to continuing illegal persecution.

There are annual reports of golden eagles being shot, poisoned or having their nests robbed. For the first time in 40 years a pair of golden eagles have successfully bred at an estate in the Scottish Highlands thanks to the help of an artificial nest. The nest was made by conservationist, Roy Dennis MBE, at the 10,000-acre Dundreggan rewilding estate in 2015. Though golden eagles have been frequent visitors to Dundreggan, there had been no sign of nesting activity or of any individuals setting up a territory there. The site was chosen because remains of an old nest were found indicating this must be a good location. Branches from native pines and birch trees, mimicked a real-life eyrie. While golden eagles prefer to build their own nests in remote and inaccessible places, it seems these eagle pair have made the handmade nest their home.

As golden eagles may use their nesting sites for generations, they hope is they will use the site long-term. The team have been regularly checking the site for evidence the eagles had returned.

The young chick, flew from the nest for the first time last week, marking the project a success. Despite the suspicious disappearances, the fourth national golden eagle survey, published in 2016, showed Scotland’s population of the birds had increased to 508 pairs, a rise of 15 per cent since the previous survey in 2003.

Eagles are undergoing a marked expansion in the Highlands, recolonising ground they haven’t been on for many years and even colonising some completely new areas.

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“Golden Eagle Eating Quail” by Jason Means is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Roy Dennis


Golden Eagle…


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