To Ireland’s great shame we learn that one of the first of two White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicillato) to fledge successfully from their nest in Co Clare, here in the west of Ireland, has been found shot dead in Co Tipperary.
A post-mortem examination carried out on this magnificent bird’s remains clearly shows it was killed by a blast from a shotgun cartridge, with between 45 to 50 pellets remaining in its body. The impact of the shot broke one of the birds legs and a wing, as well as causing damage to the main torso resulting in the bird being totally grounded, possibly for some days after the shooting, unable to walk and before actually dying both from malnutrition as well as its overall sustained injuries.
This particular bird, a young male eagle, was reared by a pair of White-tailed Eagles at a nest on Lough Derg, near Mountshannon, Co Clare, directly across the lake from the village of Portroe, Nenagh, Co Tipperary and successfully flew from its nest in July 2013 last. This bird was one of 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.
The diet of this bird is varied, but water-based birds, mammals and fish found close to the surface of water are its potential prey. During lean winter months it will feast on carrion such as dead marine mammals, dead livestock and has also been known to eat dead humans, but latter only out of sheer necessity.
The hatching of this bird, latter fully protected by Irish law, had marked a special day for Irish nature conservation and those many people who support such efforts throughout Ireland.
Gardaí at Nenagh are fully investigating the death of this ‘White-tailed Eagle’ and anyone with information should contact Nenagh Garda Station on Tel: 067-50450.