Update on progress of white-tailed eagles

White tailed eagle Credit Robin Crossley Isle of Wight County Press

They’ve been spotted across the South East, but how are the young white-tailed eagles released on the Isle of Wight getting on?

Here is an end-of-year update on the scheme for CLA members from Project Officer Stephen Egerton-Read…

 

It has been over three months now since the young white tailed eagles were released on the Isle of Wight. We have been closely monitoring them and watching their progress.

We have had some marvellous views of the eagles flying and playing in the air. We have also been sent some amazing photographs and have been encouraged by the positive responses of those lucky enough to have seen them.

Despite the sad news last month that one of the young eagles had died and another missing, six weeks later there are still four eagles roaming southern England. We supply these birds with a buffet of food, but it’s great to see that many of the birds are now able to find enough carrion independently – a really positive sign that southern England is a great place for white-tailed eagles.

Picture credit: Nick Edwards.

One of the young males has flown to Oxfordshire and been seen feeding on a dead roe deer carcass and other carrion, but like the other young eagles it is spending most of its time perched in trees, out of sight. Perhaps most interestingly he has been closely associating with the local red kites.

Like red kites, young white-tailed eagles are scavengers and it seems very likely that he is following the kites in the search for carrion, so it’s really encouraging that he is exhibiting this behaviour.

What is most remarkable about all the birds is that following their initial exploratory flights, few birds have travelled more than 20km from their roost site on a daily basis. Conserving energy during their first winter will be key to their survival. For the moment, the young eagles are managing well but there will be many more challenges ahead.

 

Stephen Egerton-Read

White-tailed eagle Project Officer

Forestry England

Picture credit: Robin Crossley Isle of Wight County Press.