Hopes that white-tailed eagles will join ‘Dot’

July 15th, 2020 5:45 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Clare Heardman, conservation ranger, with ‘Dot’ the sea eagle chick.

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DOT, the eagle chick in Glengarriff, can expect company any day now, following the release of 10 more white-tailed eagles into the wild.

She’s the first female eagle to have been hatched in West Cork in more than 100 years, and the thousands who have watched her progress on the live streaming nest camera were delighted recently to see that she had finally fledged.

West Cork conservation ranger Clare Heardman confirmed that the 10 young eagles – which were collected under licence in Norway – will be released over the next two months in Lough Derg and the lower Shannon estuary.

‘Given that young eagles are quite sociable,’ she said, ‘it is highly likely that Dot will meet up with one or more of them – distance being no object.’

Clare explained that their release is part of an on-going scheme by the Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service to bolster the existing breeding population.

Between 2007 and 2011, 100 young white-tailed eagles were released in Killarney National Park and the first breeding was recorded in 2012.

Since then a small breeding population of eight to 10 pairs have successfully fledged 26 chicks with an additional six chicks –including our Dot – likely to fledge in the next few weeks.

Clare confirmed: ‘We have adult birds that don’t have mates, but it may take some time to see the results because they are normally four or five-years-old before they hatch their own young.’

The ranger described the plan to re-establish this once extinct species in Ireland as ‘a beacon of hope in the conservation world in Ireland.

‘It has also,’ she added, ‘generated wide public interest, as demonstrated by the followers of the eagle cam in Glengarriff.’

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