Island of Mull: Golden Eagles nest interfered with to prevent breeding

According to the RSPB the police are investigating the deliberate interference with a golden eagles’ nest on Mull to prevent the pair of birds from breeding.


The nest, which has been used by a pair of golden eagles for seven years, was established near the island capital, Tobermory. A number of assorted plastic items were discovered placed in the nest preventing the pair of eagles from breeding.

Inspector Julie McLeish, of Oban police station, said: “Sticks and plastic items had been placed in the nest.”

Ian Thomson, head of investigations at RSPB Scotland, added: “From what we can surmise, this was a deliberate attempt to prevent the birds breeding at this site which is very disappointing. “There was too much debris on the nest for them to breed.

“It is a real shame because this was a very successful pair for many years.

A spokesman for Scottish Natural Heritage added: “We would encourage anyone with information regarding this to contact police.”

10 comments to Island of Mull: Golden Eagles nest interfered with to prevent breeding

  • Steve wilburn

    Do you honestly think someone went to the trouble of climbing up to a nest with a bag of rubbish? The culprits are the large population of ravens living in the area who visit the local tip and can be seen flying with all kind of rubbish. Collecting items is a well known practice of corvids.

    Editor’s Comment. Hi Steve, we just report the story as it was put out by the RSPB. We do not have a crystal ball.

  • If this site was being monitored, why wasn’t the fact that something was untoward discovered in March or early April when normally it would be checked for incubation!?

  • Steve wilburn

    I made an observation and it did not warrant your sarcastic reply.

    Editor’s Comment. Sorry Steve our comment was not meant to be in any way sarcastic, we were just telling you what happened.

  • Steve wilburn

    Exactly Dave, the eagles are really harassed by the huge numbers of ravens and have chosen to nest else where. The rubbish dump is a source of food for the ravens so numbers have increased.

  • Alan Tilmouth

    Steve Wilburn, why would a Raven (or Ravens) make repeated visits to an active eagle nest? The eagle pair will have been visiting the site since the early part of the year. From the statement made by the RSPB the volume of debris would appear to have been substantial if it prevented the birds from breeding. While corvids may collect a few items to adorn their own nests behaviour of this nature would be highly unusual, perhaps even unique. Interference by man would be a much more likely explanation rather than some attempt to blame Ravens. Given the conflict between sheep farmers/game estates and birds of prey there are many who seek to disrupt the breeding of these birds.

  • Steve wilburn

    Alan, think you need to take a trip to Tobermory tip, if you think this is “unusual behaviour”. There are no game estates in this area and I sure the local sheep farmer who is in her 80’s does not spend her time climbing up to nests. The ravens are not decorating the nest they are simply using it as a platform to deposit there collection of items.

  • Steve wilburn

    Alan my comments are not some attempt to blame ravens. It is based on my personal observations in this area over the winter months.

  • If at the time of egg laying the said nest was not accessible to the eagles I would have expected them to lay elsewhere. Unless someone can categorically say they were observing the eagles in Fed/March & provide details, I wouldn’t be surprised if the eagles laid at another site & if they failed early on no one will ever know.

  • Steve wilburn

    Dave, on several occasions in February I saw single eagles in the area, each time they we’re being mobbed. Due to the numbers of corvids in this area the poor eagles could barely get airborne. Hopefully they nested in a quite spot.

    • There aren’t high numbers of Ravens in this area it is only near Tobermory dump where there are high numbers of Ravens. I have been monitoring this area for 9 years.
      At first i also suspected Raven behaviour but how would a pair of Golden Eagles allow Ravens to interfere with their nest? I defer to expert opinion on this and i can tell you that the person who found the nest is not anti-game keeper at all, quite the opposite but he was sure it was human interference and presumably so do his ‘colleagues’.
      You have assumed that there is only one culprit, shooting estates. I can think of at least 3 other possibilities although i admit they seem just as unlikely in this area but can’t be ruled out: a sheep farmer other than the 80 year old you mention, someone who has lost their marbles or even a plain vandalism.
      Sorry but ‘Due to the numbers of corvids in this area the poor eagles could barely get airborne’ is, from my personal experience of this pair, complete nonsense, it just normal behaviour for these species and the numbers are normal too. I can give you my Breeding Atlas counts if you like.