Since the birds were released, we have been leaving food for them on a regular basis to help their transition into faring for themselves. This is what their parents would do naturally in the wild, leave food near the nest to help them survive the first winter. This food dump was used regularly by a group of six of the birds, but they have recently stopped using it and the group has split up. Two of the birds have headed off together while the other four have gone exploring alone. We will continue to put food out once a week in case any of the birds need it, removing what has not been eaten.
With all the birds now being so mobile and dispersed, it can be difficult to say exactly where the best place is to see them, as quite often when you try and catch up with them they have moved on! However, bird T decided to be a little more obliging last week and turned up at the Argaty red kite centre, just 8 miles outside of Stirling. Head ranger Mike McDonnell thought something was up as the kites were behaving oddly all day. However, he soon spotted the sea eagle with a trail of angry kites after it! He wasn’t able to read the tags at first, but we confirmed the birds identity using the tracking equipment. After sharing a roost with the kites for the rest of the week, ‘T’ has now moved onto the Callander area.
Bird 1 has also been quite gregarious spending the last week only a few miles outside of Perth, I received five sightings of this bird in one day and Bird F is still up at St Fergus nearly 100 miles from the release site and I caught up with him flying over some geese on Tuesday.
Sightings of the birds have also made it into the press after one was spotted flying over the ASDA in Dunfermline and another was seen by commuters over the Forth road bridge!
You may have read in the newspapers that two birds have been electrocuted. Although this is extremely sad for the project team, this is a threat that also faces young sea eagles in Norway with up to a third of deaths of first year birds caused by collision with power lines or electrocution. Transformers and power lines are a fact of modern life and are not a threat that we can protect all of the birds from, but we are discussing the situation with the electricity companies, to see what actions we can take to reduce the risk in future. The sea eagle population in Norway has also undergone a huge increase form 900 to over 3000 pairs despite these collisions.
Two of the birds are currently at Flanders Moss and three birds are within 15 miles of Perth. We also have a bird roosting only a few miles away from our Vane Farm reserve.