Last week Raptor Politics received a request from Margaret who lives in the Outer Hebrides asking for any advice on how best to protect a local Golden Eagle eyrie. It appears from what Margaret has written below, the site she is particularly concerned about has in the recent past been subjected to interference by local crofters who she claims have been stealing the eggs to protect their lambs. If anyone has any ideas, bearing in mind the RSPB have been alerted to the situation but so far have failed to take any action, can you please attach your views using the comment submission box below this story. Thank you Editor.
I would be very interested in any advice you can give me. I live in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, where we have a growing population of both golden eagles and sea eagles. On the whole they’re fairly safe, and thriving in the Harris mountains and along remote shorelines. However, there’s one or two pairs of golden eagles which have chosen to settle much closer to villages and it’s one of these pairs I am most concerned about. They’ve been located in one specific area for about 15 years according to the RSPB although we’ve only seen them there for the last 3 years. Apparently they have nested every year, but failed to raise any chick due to the local crofters robbing the nest. The crofters appear to think the eagles take their lambs. They may take the odd sickly or dead lamb but the nest site is only a mile or so from a huge area of sandy dunes which is inundated with literally hundreds of rabbits!
A pair of Golden Eagles successfully raised a single eaglet at the site in question for the first time in many years.
The RSPB appear to know what’s been going on, but seem either unwilling or unable to do anything about prosecuting the crofters. The wildlife crimes officer is based on the mainland, and I’ve never known an instance where he’s come across here to deal with anything! An eaglet successfully hatched this year, more by luck than anything else I think, and my husband and I notified the RSPB of this event – we thought the Society would try and provide a bit of protection for the nest or something but nothing really happened. They didn’t even bother to go and ring the eaglet! Thankfully the chick was safe this year, we saw her shortly after she fledged. But I fear for any future chicks. Is there anything we can do, or any other body we can contact to try and help protect this nesting site? We’re doing all the obvious stuff like keeping the location of the eyrie fairly secret, not visiting too often, educating children etc.
Thank you for agreeing to post my concerns on the Raptor Politics web site, I sincerely hope someone may be interested enough to enclose their advice via the comments link below? Margaret