Saturday 27 May 2017

Hopes of baby boom as sea eagles build love nest

Two sea eagles like
the one pictured have
paired up in Co Clare
Two sea eagles like the one pictured have paired up in Co Clare
Around 100 bottlenose dolphins have taken up residence in waters off the coast of Co Donegal over the past few days

Kevin Keane and Carol Byrne

TWO RARE birds of prey released into the wild have turned out to be love birds.

The white-tailed sea eagles, released in Co Kerry a year apart, took wing to stake out new territory 160km away in Co Clare, where they paired up.

Conservationists are now hoping the eagles will produce the first native-born chick here in 110 years.

The white-tailed sea eagles were released separately in Killarney in 2008 and 2009. Earlier this year the birds were spotted near Mountshannon in Co Clare.

Project manager in Kerry, Dr Allan Mee, says the fact that the birds have paired up is a major success.

"We had no idea that they were potentially a pair. That is the whole goal. They take five years to breed and we are waiting for our first breeding in the wild so hopefully this will happen in the next year or two," he said.

Conservationists are also celebrating the continued success of a reintroduction programme for the red kite in Co Wicklow.

Efforts which saw the release of more than 100 of the birds over the past four years are bearing fruit, with 17 chicks fledged this year.

Wicklow project manager Lorcan O'Toole has described the fledglings as a milestone development.

"It has been the most successful project but they are an easier species to work with and will achieve success quicker," he said.

Mr O'Toole also revealed that legislation which banned the laying of poison has brought to a halt the deaths of eagles and red kites.

Irish Independent

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