For the second consecutive year, a young white-tailed eagle has successfully fledged from a nest in east Scotland.
His sibling, who hatched in 2013, un-mysteriously ‘disappeared’ earlier this year in a notorious raptor persecution blackspot in the Cairngorms National Park (see here and here). He was the first sea eagle to fledge in east Scotland in over 200 years but he didn’t even survive to see his first birthday. His satellite transmitter went silent after he’d visited a driven grouse moor where previously a head gamekeeper had been convicted of poisoning offences (2006), a poisoned golden eagle had been found in 2011 (no prosecution), a poisoned buzzard had been found in 2011 (no prosecution), poisoned bait had been discovered in 2011 (no prosecution) and a short-eared owl had been found in 2011 that had been shot and shoved underneath a rock (no prosecution). The police raided the estate in April this year but found no trace of the eagle.
He might not have been the first sea eagle to fledge in Scotland in over 200 years if another east Scotland pair had not had their nest tree felled by someone with a chainsaw (see here – no prosecution).
The BBC is running an article on this year’s fledgling (see here) and includes a telling remark from RSPB Scotland saying they hoped the young bird would avoid areas where birds of prey have been poisoned or trapped. In other words, steer clear of driven grouse moors.
He’s got at least five years in which to run the gauntlet before he becomes mature enough to breed – we don’t rate his chances much.
Go west, kid, go west.