The last white-tailed sea eagle in Britain was shot by hunters in 1918, but the story doesn’t end there. A Scottish conservation team brought them back via “rewilding”, a purposeful restoration of an eco-system destroyed by humans. Now they’re a protected species in Scotland.
Chicks were taken from a donor population in Norway and flown across to the Isle of Rum, one of the Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides. This nature reserve is home to one of the largest colonies of Manx Shearwaters and now a stronghold of the sea eagles. A wild, wind-tossed place in any season, I can assure you (see second post). In 1985, the first sea eagle pair hatched their eggs on Rum. Soon, the sea eagles discovered the other Scottish islands. A few had small tracking cameras fitted to follow their movements to further protect them in their range.
The typical wingspan of sea eagles is 5-8 feet, likely making them the largest eagle species. They live most of the year near large bodies of open water and require an abundant food supply and old-growth trees or ample sea cliffs for nesting.
Take a break and hold on tight! Enjoy this ride on a majestic sea eagle’s back over Scotland’s Orkney Islands.