White-tailed eagle chicks hatch in Cork, Clare

An adult White-tailed Eagle hunting for fish for her young chicks Photo:Valerie O'Sullivan/Golden Eagle Trust

The first White-Tailed Eagle chicks of 2014 hatched at nests in Glengarriff, Co Cork and Mountshannon, Co. Clare, it has been announced.

Unfortunately, while the chick at Mountshannon is thriving, the Cork one didn’t make it.

“Unfortunately the breeding efforts of this pair and a pair nesting in Killarney National Park failed, probably due to a combination of poor weather and inexperience,” said a statement from the [url=http://www.goldeneagletrust.org/]Golden Eagle Trust, which oversees multiple raptor reintroduction projects in the country.

“Hopes are high that the Mountshannon pair and others around the country will successfully raise chicks that will go on to form the basis of a viable population in Ireland.”

These are the latest chicks of the high profile reintroduction programme which began in 2007 with the release of 100 young Norwegian eagles in Killarney National Park as part of the White-tailed Eagle reintroduction programme. Fourteen pairs of eagles are holding territories across four counties with at least seven pairs nesting and laying eggs. The Mountshannon pair created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in over 100 years.

“We are delighted that White-tailed Eagles are now nesting across four counties, from Cork, Kerry and Clare to Connemara, Co. Galway ” , said Dr. Allan Mee, project manager for the Golden Eagle Trust.

“In 2013 we had our first chicks reared in the wild in Clare but this year we are excited to see that pairs are nesting as far away as Connemara, although Kerry remains the stronghold for the species. The increase in the number of pairs nesting is really encouraging and bodes well for the future of the species.”

The White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, and Red Kite Reintroduction Projects in the Republic of Ireland are managed by the Golden Eagle Trust in partnership with the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the Republic of Ireland.

White-tailed Eagle chicks were collected under licence in Norway and transported to Ireland for release..

One hundred young White-tailed Eagles were released between 2007 and 2011 in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry. To date 29 birds have been recovered dead, mainly due to illegal poisoning.

The news of nesting White-tailed Eagles has generated alot of excitement locally in East Clare, West Cork, as well as Galway and Kerry and is likely to attract the attention of people keen to see the birds. However disturbance, particularly during the early stages of nesting when the birds are on eggs or have small chicks, would be detrimental to the pair’s success.

“We are very conscious of the risk of disturbing the birds especially at this stage of nesting” Dr. Mee added.

“Please note that it is an offence under the Wildlife Act (1976) to willfully disturb White-tailed Eagles at the nest.”

“We would caution people not to approach the nest area but instead avail of the unique opportunity to watch from a nesting pair of sea eagles from nearby Mountshannon pier.”

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