Glasgow & West Scotland

White-tailed eagle chick hatches on Mull

Adult eagles flying Image copyright I. Erskine
Image caption White-tailed eagles are an endangered species in Scotland

Rangers at Mull Eagle Watch have confirmed that at least one white-tailed eagle chick has hatched on the island this year, and believe there could be another in the nest.

A change in the behaviour of the adult eagles signalled the arrival of the chick.

They are now in a "feeding frenzy", with lots of activity to and from the nest.

White-tailed eagles are protected, and their numbers in the UK are very low.

Mull Eagle Watch officer Rachel French said: "With all the activity going on it has been tricky to know for sure if there are two chicks in the nest - but we are keeping our fingers crossed.

"We are sure that the first chick hatched last week because the adults' behaviour changed dramatically. Since then we have seen the birds feeding small morsels to the youngster.

"We are very hopeful that the parents will now successfully rear their young so that we can witness one, or possibly two, fledglings leave the nest later this summer."

Back from extinction

The white-tailed eagle, also known as the sea eagle, became extinct in Britain in the 1900s.

Despite a lengthy reintroduction scheme, their numbers remain low - the RSPB estimates that there are only 37-44 breeding pairs in the United Kingdom.

They are only found in the west of Scotland, although there are now attempts to introduce them to the east of the country as well.

Their nests are targeted by egg collectors, which is why initiatives such as the Mull Eagle Watch exist to monitor the nests and prevent illegal disturbance or egg theft.

The RSPB says that with such a low population, the theft of sea eagle eggs can be critical.

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