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Golden eagles are soaring locally

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Golden eagles are soaring locally

GOLDEN eagles which were resettled in Dumfries and Galloway are 'thriving' according to conservationists.

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project brought four golden eagles to the area in 2018.

And this week they revealed that the birds are doing well and have even been tracked flying as far south as the Pennine Hills in England.

During lockdown, while humans stayed at home, the iconic birds soared high in southern skies, covering around 140 miles from Eyemouth in the east to the Mull of Galloway in the west, and approximately 90 miles down to the Pennine Hills.

Beaky was the first of the project’s eagles to venture south of the border and visit the Pennines area and the project team say her trip is a significant milestone for the them and partners RSPB Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Forestry, NatureScot (Scotland’s Nature Agency), and the Southern Uplands Partnership.

Explaining the significance of the journey, Cat Barlow, South of Scotland Golden Eagle project manager, said: “Two years after our first translocation, it is wonderful see our first chicks thrive in the area and interact with locally fledged young eagles – this is absolutely key to addressing low numbers in the area before they are lost to the area forever.

“We were particularly excited by Beaky’s exploration into northern England, as she is the first of our birds to explore that far south. There have been no golden eagles breeding in the wild in England for a number of years now.

“We have had fantastic support from public, local communities and land management sectors in the south of Scotland, the Highlands and wherever our birds travel. This support is now more important than ever to ensure we see this important bird soar high in our skies for many years to come.”

Francesca Osowska, from NatureScot, added: “It is thrilling to see these four stunning golden eagles thrive in southern skies – in Scotland and England. These striking birds are helping enrich the wonderful nature in the south of the country, which is part of vital work to restore biodiversity loss in Scotland.

“Golden eagles are such an amazing part of Scotland’s wildlife, and we’re passionate about returning them to places where they used to be plentiful.”

Covid-19 restrictions prevented the project team from carrying out all their plans this year but they look forward to increasing numbers again next year with the translocation of more chicks.

For the latest news on the charity go to www.goldeneaglessouthofscotland.co.uk

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