First two Irish White-tailed eagles chicks in 110 years almost ready to fledge

Irish Scientists are hopeful that the first two White-tailed eagles hatched in 110 years will fledge from their tree eyrie built on an island on Lough Derg in Mountshannon, Co. Clare within the next few days, this will indeed be a historic moment for everyone involved in this Irish reintroduction project.


These past few days, there has been a significant gathering of people at Mountshannon, watching the birds exercising their muscles in preparation for flight, but the warm spell hasn’t encouraged them. A bit more wind would help them get airborne on their maiden flight.

Both parents were taken as chicks a few years ago from the Isle of Fraya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust to provide stock for the reintroduction project. They were released in Co Kerry, and so have been claimed as “Kerry eagles” by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, who is an enthusiastic supporter of the raptor project. But the eagles flew across to Lough Derg, which is a rich fishing ground.

They laid eggs last year but those failed to hatch. This year there was joy when the nest-building, which started in January, led to the hatching of two healthy chicks, though their sex is as yet unknown.

“To get our first two chicks hatched into the wild will be fantastic,” said Dr Mee.

He said that when the two adults responded badly to the nest camera, the Golden Eagle Trust was worried.

“We supply them with whole fish every few days. Hopefully when they fledge they will have the male right there and so when they leave the nest he will guide them around. He is actually catching more fish than he needs for himself,” Dr Mee told the Sunday Independent.

Over the years of the reintroduction, 2007 to 2011, 100 birds were released. Of these, 27 were killed, 12 from poisoning. At the moment there are 20 birds who have formed 10 pairs, seven in Kerry, one pair in Cork, one pair in Clare and a further pair in Galway.


2 comments to First two Irish White-tailed eagles chicks in 110 years almost ready to fledge

  • Excellent positive news with regards to this wonderful raptor. May I point out that we could have potentially had a similar story in Angus this year if only better lines of communication/co-operation had been achieved between conservation bodies and Invermark Estate.

    On a slightly different note I notice that during this Irish reintoduction programme between 2007-2011 100 birds have been released. Only 47 birds have been accounted for, what happened to the other 53?

    Editor’s Comment. Mike in reply to your last question, need anyone ask?

  • As a frequent visitor to the West of Ireland and a Conservationist,I am delighted to read about the two White Tailed Eagle chicks. Let us hope they remain unmolested and go on to produce chicks of their own at some point.