The birds have been out for a couple of months now and are certainly making their presence felt.
For the first week or so after release the birds were all fairly sedentary, taking a lot of floppy, slow practice flights in nearby fields and woods. However, although the birds remained near the cages, it took some of them 6 days until they returned to feed, I think they were just enjoying their freedom too much! This behaviour is not uncommon, as released golden eagles in Ireland took 10 days before returning for food.
In the wild some paris of Sea Eagle continue to drop off food for their young after they have fledged, so I am mimicking this behaviour by maintaining a food dump on the roof of the cages. I can check with the radio-receiver where the birds are before putting out deer carcasses, as we still don’t want the birds to associate people with food or disturb them when they are loafing or feeding.
Like their wild counter-parts the young birds are showing a wide range of behaviour. Just 2 weeks after release two males headed north up the coast. Bird ‘N’ headed for Montrose basin, (via Monikie park and Forfar Loch) and as hes been there ever since he's obviously enjoying the wetland habitat and wealth of food and hes been seen eating a common gull. Bird ‘F’, the first collected for this project, has travelled even further North reaching our Loch of Strathbeg reserve on the Buchan coast in late September, he has since moved south and has been seen near St Fergus.
Six of the birds (4 males and 2 females) have stayed within a 10 mile radius of the release site, roosting there most nights and they are frequently seen sitting in the same tree, soaring together and showing talons to each other. However, these birds have been using the food dump less and less and are certainly finding food of their own.
The other birds have been making exploratory trips throughout Fife and Tayside and are particularly interested in the geese and gulls on the Tay as well as the Forth coast. One bird has headed southwest to Flanders Moss.
Any sightings or information on the birds’ behaviour is extremely valuable, so please email details to: firstname.lastname@example.org