Conservation Manager, Stuart Benn, is back with a new blog...

New Life

Meet Brin, our new puppy – just 15 weeks old and with a whole lifetime of walks and sniffs and adventures in front of him.

On the very day that Brin was born, a pair of eagles were putting the finishing touches to their eyrie in the Cairngorm Mountains, making it ready for their two eggs.  And though we’ve just had the coldest spring for over 50 years, the eagles kept those eggs warm and in May they hatched into two tiny white balls of down the weight of an apple.  But young eagles grow fast - this week, I went to the nest to fit satellite tags to the chicks and the female was already over four and a half kilos of muscle and power and quite a handful.  Her brother was slimline by comparison but still armed with the tools of the trade – a beak and talons that you make sure are kept well away from any bit of you that they might want to grab hold of.

This is a great territory and regularly produces twins which is a rarity in Scotland these days but it’s also great because the folk that own and manage the land really love their eagles and look after them.  Sadly, this is not universally true and there are still plenty of other places where eagles aren’t tolerated and the long list of dead birds and vacant territories is testament to that.

Satellite tracking really helps in dealing with those crimes acting as both a deterrent and in finding any birds that are downed.  This is the third year that we’ve tagged chicks at this site - one of the chicks from the first time was found poisoned in Aberdeenshire.  And in 2012, we filmed the tagging here with the One Show and I’m really pleased to say that those two chicks are still alive and well - their satellite tags show us that they’ve already been over half of Scotland.

This is typical behaviour of young eagles as they range about getting to know the lie of the land before it’s time to set up territories of their own in maybe four or five year’s time.  Within the month, this year’s eaglets will fly from the nest and then at some stage before next spring they will leave their home and head off.  Hopefully, for a long and fruitful life – just like Brin.