Two’s a crowd.

Watching Spring watch last night millions of viewers will have witnessed the unnecessary death of a Golden Eagle chick in Stirlingshire. It was filmed in a tree eyrie as part of a scientific test to see if new clear felling of Sitka Spruce would benefit food for eagles at large with the expected doubling of Scotland’s forest cover.
Female Golden Eagle feeding one of her two chicks.
Film crews are asked to allow nature to take its natural course, regardless of what seems to have been a cruel aspect of nature when 2 chicks become one. Some people watching the programme may have thought allowing one eaglet to die unnecessarily as irresponsible, and a waste of what could have been a valuable asset to a reintroduction project?

But should we allow this to happen when many parts of Britain would love to have had that young Golden Eagle as part of a reintroduction scheme?
Golden Eagle eyrie 1911, Cairngorm National Park
Take Cumbria. It once had up to 10 pairs of Golden Eagle before persecution eradicated them completely. It recent times there were at least 2 breeding pairs in the 1970’s to 1980’s, but one pair was shot off  of a nest by a pheasant shoot. The only remaining pair was failing through old age as no new recruits were coming in to Cumbria from Scotland to replace the older birds.
Eaglet at 12 weeks old ready to fledge
Food was not a problem with both Red Grouse and Rabbits increasing in the area. One pair were even taking Carrion Crows in winter as food. No need for a license there to kill crows as a pest species!! And even Badgers and Foxes were taken as prey at the Haweswater territory!!
Wales is looking into a Golden Eagle reintroduction scheme, and the old nest site in the Kielder Forest in Northumberland was recently visited by a reintroduced bird from the ‘South of Scotland’ Golden Eagle reintroduction. These birds were taken from areas where Wildlife Tourism is worth over £157 million a year!!
Then there is Yorkshire with its £multi million scheme for Wildlife Tourism already advertising Birds of Prey in an area where persecution is killing many birds of prey!!
So what will be the outcome of such filming?
Will the team at Spring watch have to change their tune?

1 comment to Two’s a crowd.

  • Springwatch is to be commended in showing nature as it is, however I can’t
    help thinking an opportunity has been missed.
    This was an ideal chance, to inform the general public about the various reintroduction schemes, and the use of “spare” birds.
    I know that eaglets closer to fledging are usually preferred, but the odd chick could surely be reared without the danger of imprinting.
    Updates could then be provided,running into the Autumnwatch programme perhaps.
    We know this is a perfectly normal part of Eagle biology,but it seems such a waste sometimes.

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