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Haliaeetus albicilla Return To The Skies Over North Tipperary

Haliaeetus_albicillaThe greyish-brown, White Tailed Eagle, ( Haliaeetus albicilla ) also known as the Sea Eagle can be now observed in North Tipperary skies, hunting for fish swimming just below the surface water of Lough Derg’s shore line.

In the last few days a pair of these magnificent birds have been confirmed as having hatched two chicks in a nest close to the eastern shore of the lake on the Mountshannon side, in Co Clare and directly across the lake from the western village of Portroe, Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

These are the first chicks born from the high profile reintroduction programme which began way back in 2007, with the release of young Norwegian eagles, as part of the white-tailed eagle reintroduction programme.

This Lough Derg breeding pair, a five year old male with his four year old female, were transported originally from the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway. Nesting here began in late March and these now successfully hatched chicks are the first to be born in Ireland in almost a century.

White-tailed eagles can live for around 25 to 30 years and generally mate for life, with adult pairs choosing to remain within their home chosen territory throughout the year. During the period 1800-1970, White-tailed Eagles, in most of Europe, underwent dramatic declines and were extinct here in Ireland and England by1916, due to intensive persecution from shepherds and gamekeepers who wrongly considered them to be a threat to livestock and game-birds. A more modern threat to these beautiful birds however comes in the form of wind turbines on our ever increasing manufactured wind farms, latter causing significant mortality.

These chicks will be a huge boost to bird watchers and the White Tailed Eagle Reintroduction Programme, following serious initial setbacks, which included the unnecessary deaths of some 27 of  the 100 eagles released into the wild since 2007.

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