IT’S something many parents who would like the freedom to become ‘empty nesters’ will be able to identify with.
While this year’s local crop of six young White-tailed Sea Eagle chicks are now busy exploring the wider world around them – one was spotted by a farmer on Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands – Eddie, the Glengarriff chick, is yet to make the move out while his parents continue to feed him. After taking flight for the first time in July, at 11 to 14 weeks old, the youngsters are now proficient fliers and some have dispersed to south-west Kerry and east Galway.
Eddie’s reluctance to move out of home and fend for himself has an upside, as both parents and chick have been thrilling local boatmen and tourists visiting Garinish Island.
Soon, however, the parents will begin gearing up for the next breeding season, so it will be interesting to see when and where Eddie goes to when he finally makes the move away.
The 2016 Killarney chick, a female named Danú, named after the Celtic goddess or the nearby Paps of Danú, left her nest in mid-July but only began to venture away from the Lakes of Killarney in late September.
She returned to Killarney and then finally departed on October 1st when she headed west towards Waterville where she remains and her satellite tracks show that she even spent the night next to another eagle nest in west Kerry that also produced a chick this year.
Time will tell how these young eagles will fare.
Some may not make it through their first winter when having to find enough food to survive is a big challenge.
Young eagles are especially dependent on carrion – dead animals – they find and scavenge, often in the uplands.