Eight more young golden eagles have been released in southern Scotland as part of the project to bolster the tiny remnant breeding population there, which has been suppressed for decades, largely due to illegal persecution (e.g. see here for a recent example).
The eight eagles were collected as chicks from nests further north with expertise and assistance provided by members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group. The eaglets were cared for in aviaries at a secret location near Moffat until they were fully developed, and were then fitted with satellite tags and given a final health check before being released in to the wild.
This brings the total number of golden eagles successfully released in southern Scotland to twelve, where they’ve joined a small number of other young golden eagles that have hatched in the wild there in the last few years and who remain in the area, all of them also being satellite-tracked to monitor their survival.
The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project is coordinating these releases and this lottery-funded project still has a number of years to run and more eagles are expected to be released in the future.
Up until now, the released birds and the wild birds have been observed interacting well (e.g. see here) and now the numbers are slowly increasing it’ll be interesting to see whether there are more flights over the border into northern England.
Two videos have been produced to illustrate the process of the eagle releases this year – the first video is about how the young eaglets are collected from their nests, and the second video explains what happens while the birds are being held in the aviaries up until the point of release. If you can ignore the tedious background muzac the content is very good: