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This is the first photograph of a white-tailed sea eagle feeding its newly hatched chicks on Mull

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They have arrived.

This is the first photograph of a White-Tailed Sea Eagle feeding its newly hatched chicks in one of the Mull hides.

The image shows the male, known as Star, feeding the newly hatched eaglets. It was taken by Mull and Iona Community Trust ranger Rachel French.

The female of the pair of adults is known as Hope.

Staff first noticed a change in behaviour of the pair shortly after the bitterly cold snap at the beginning of last week and feared that something might have gone wrong with the breeding attempt.

Newly hatched eaglets can be particularly susceptible to cold and wet, causing hypothermia.

They need constant brooding by the adults for the first 10 days of their lives out of the egg.

RSPB Mull Officer Dave Sexton under special licence from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) gained a better view of the nest and was able to confirm that all was well and the two chicks were thriving.

Rachel French said: “It’s a privilege to work with such magnificent birds of prey – the UK’s largest and one of the biggest in the world. To witness the huge adults feeding the tiny chicks with great tenderness is just incredible. At the moment the chicks are small enough to sit in the palm of your hand but in only 10 weeks time they’ll be fully grown. I hope visitors to Mull can join us for trips to the hide and help support a great local community project.”

All being well, the chicks will be in the nest until mid July when they should take their first flights but will be visible nearby for many weeks afterwards. All eagle eyes are now on the second Mull Eagle Watch pair, Fingal and Iona, in Tiroran Community Forest which are due to hatch shortly.

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