A Field Worker’s Guide to the Golden Eagle by Dave Walker

The title is a bit misleading as the read is ideal for anyone interested in this iconic bird and when you look at fieldworkers may be there are only 50+ in the whole of the UK! Dave takes the approach that many previous examples of how to deal with this species needs to be questioned. In fact reading the book opens many questions that still need answering. Statements like the census figures are misleading, no need to go near the nest and that the Irish and new South of Scotland reintroduction will bleed birds from the main Scottish stock are something some may agree with while others may strongly disagree.

I was amazed there was little on the effects of satellite tagging especially birds like Roxy even though a ‘sex change’ was certainly her! Also the impact of wind farms especially as there is clear evidence in Spain and California of deaths to eagles but overall it is a good read especially for the layman.

Here is what some Eagle workers in Scotland had to say about the book –

I have looked through most of the book and whilst I agree that there remains a vast amount to discover about many aspects of the ecology of golden eagles I found much of the text to be rather negative.

In parts it seems to be largely rushed, poorly composed, repetitive with some apparently contradictory statements and little by way of new detailed information or insights.

Radical personal statements challenging received wisdom and group think are always to be welcomed but they need to be backed up by at least a minimum of new evidence and/or critical analysis of existing work. The reference list is incomplete in parts and there seems to have been little editorial control.

I think that he has an agenda which he is entitled to but he makes many unsupported sweeping statements based on his world view and little scientific evidence. His statement that the 2015 survey will show no change is very clearly wrong. He is quite within his rights to write a book that covers his views but not everyone else is wrong on everything. I look forward to seeing what Ken Crane’s views are!

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