Today, the last white tailed eagles to be released as part of the east Scotland reintroduction took to the skies!
The sunny weather and light windy conditions were perfect for the young birds to take their first flight, and they all did incredibly well. Anyone would think they’d done it before!
The last release today was covered by BBC and STV after Tuesday’s planned release was cancelled due to heavy rain and thunderstorms! It was featured on STV’s news at 6pm and BBC reporting Scotland at 6:30pm this evening.
The fledglings are not alone in the woods at the moment. Yesterday, Red E from the 2011 release cohort returned to the release wood and was seen perched with Grey A that was released on Monday. Hopefully Red E will show the new arrivals a thing or two!
This great picture of "Gray T"was taken by Mike McDonnell of Argaty Red Kites (www.argatyredkites.co.uk)
Yesterday saw the first release of the final cohort of white-tailed eagles to be released on the east coast of Scotland!
Volunteers that have been involved in all aspect of the project from radio tracking and data entry to event volunteers came along to see Grey “A” and “T” take to the skies for the first time.
“A” was the first bird collected from Norway this year, and “T” is the largest female. “T” was also the bird that had to be treated for a respiratory infection during her first week in captivity. She has since recovered remarkably well and showed no signs of ever being ill today!
Both birds didn’t waste any time in attempting their first flights! Neither of them sat around at the release hatch, and they both made a quick bolt for freedom! “A” even took a big run up! Despite being a little bit wobbly for the first few flaps , they quickly caught the brisk south easterly that was blowing. This carried them round to the safety of a plantation forest nearby where they perched as they got used to their new surroundings!
It was such a great feeling to see them do so well in their first flight, and to finally see them in more natural surroundings!
Today, Grey “O” and “H” will be released in front of BBC and STV reporters.
Let’s hope they do just as well as “A” and “T”!!
Pictures to follow......
Join RSPB Scotland at Jamesfield Organic Centre, Abernethy on Sunday 19th August 2012
Spend the day with RSPB Scotland and learn about the UK’s largest bird of prey, the white-tailed sea eagle. This is a great opportunity to find out more about these magnificent birds and why RSPB Scotland is re-introducing this native bird to the east coast of Scotland.
Event name: Eagle Extravaganza!
Date: Sun 19th Aug
Time: 10am – 2pm
Location: Jamesfield Organic Centre, off the A913 between Abernethy & Newburgh, KY14 6EW
Type of activity: hands on, family, education
White-tailed Sea Eagles have returned to the east coast of Scotland.
Join us and learn about the UK’s largest bird of prey; this is your opportunity find out more about these magnificent birds.
Come and join in the FREE fun and games;
· learn how to radio track White-tailed Sea Eagles
· treasure hunt
· help us build a full size White-tailed Sea Eagle nest
· take home craft activities
Throughout the day, there will be a RSPB member of staff on hand to answer any questions about the re-introduction of White-tailed Sea Eagles to the east coast of Scotland.
Yesterday, the six young white-tailed eagles to be released over the next couple of weeks were fitted with their wing tags and VHF transmitters.
The wing tag colour that we’re using this year is grey with yellow letters. We had to make sure that the tags wouldn’t get confused with the ones used in previous years. I think this will work pretty well, and the yellow letters really stand out! The letters we have chosen to use are A, H, O, R, T, X.
Each bird also has its own VHF frequency so that we can follow their dispersal once they’re released.
We also had a vet present to take a second lot of samples from the birds since their arrival for health screening. We also took measurements to monitor growth rate. Some of the birds have gained almost 3kg since they’ve arrived!
The young female that was taken ill during the first week in captivity is much better and looking fantastic. She is the biggest bird that we have this year!
A big thank you to the team that were there to help yesterday!!
At the end of last week, we finally received the results of the blood tests that would inform us of the sex of the chicks!
On arrival, the chicks were all weighed and measured and their sex was estimated from these measurements. The females having all round larger dimensions than the males, being heavier and the larger of the two sexes as is the case with all birds of prey. In adult white-tailed eagles, females weigh an average of 6-7kg and males 4.5-5.5kg
On June 22nd, it was assumed that we had an even sex ratio in the 2012 cohort-3 females and 3 males, and we put a male and a female in each aviary….HOWEVER, our estimations proved to be wrong! It turns out that we actually have 4 females and 2 males!! The bird thought to be a male was actually a small and very light female!
As the birds have grown over the past few weeks, Heather and I had suspected that the birds in aviary 2 were of the same sex as there was no significant difference in their size like there is in the other aviaries. The interaction between them is also different to that between the other pairs.
Since the project started in2007, we have ended up with more males than females surviving, so we are pleased with what these results have shown. We have a bit more of a balance now!!
A male and female chick in the aviaries...can you guess which is which?