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Loch Garten Nature Centre giving an up-close look at white-tail eagles

A white-tailed eagle in flight (not one of the pair referred to
Loch Garten Nature Centre is giving visitors an up-close look at white-tail eagles. Photo by Jess Tomes/RSPB

RSPB are to launch the UK’s first ever eagle nest camera at Loch Garten Nature Centre.

Two white-tailed eagles, Shona and Finn, have made themselves comfortable in the vast landscape of the Cairngorms Connect Partnership, which is part of RSPB, at Abernethy nature reserve.

Using successful methods trialled in countries such as Latvia and Estonia, Wildlife Windows experts installed a live camera next to the nest.

The camera has been cleverly disguised as a stick approximately 10ft away from the eagles’ nest. This is to avoid the birds becoming nervous with new items or changes around their nest.

The pair are currently incubating two eggs, expected to hatch around the second week of April.

Jason Fathers of Wildlife Windows said: “Wildlife Windows consider it a privilege to have installed this white-tailed eagle nest camera.

White-tailed eagles in their nest
The birds are expecting two chicks to hatch in April. Photo by Ben Andrew/RSPB

“As far as we are aware, this is the first camera of this quality on a white-tailed eagle nest in the UK.

“This has been one of the most challenging camera installations we have completed, due to the sensitivity of the species and remote location.

“We are very keen to see the story unfold while getting a close-up insight into white-tailed eagle life.”

History of the white-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagles, also known as Sea Eagles, were driven to extinction in Scotland in 1918 before the Scandinavian birds were reintroduced to the Isle of Rum in 1975.

The majestic feathered friends have a wingspan of 8ft, and are often referred to as “flying barn doors”.

Thanks to the re-introductions of these birds in other parts of the country, there are now populations that spread as far as Fife, Orkney and the north-west Highlands.

The nesting pair are direct descendants of these re-introduced birds.

Finn is the great-grandson of the well-known Skye and Frisa pair of Mull Eagle Watch and BBC Springwatch fame.

White-tail eagle flying
White-tailed eagles have a huge wingspan.

Skye is the oldest known white-tailed eagle at an amazing 28 years old, and Frisa was the daughter of Blondie, who was the first eagle to successfully raise a chick after the re-introduction.

Jess Tomes, Abernethy site manager for people at RSPB Scotland, said: “This is an enormously exciting addition to the visitor offer at the Loch Garten Nature Centre.

“The images we’re getting live from the nest are phenomenal and our visitors will get a very rare and extremely privileged peek at the domestic life of a breeding white-tailed eagle pair.

“Already we’re noticing little personality traits in them – the male is very attentive to his mate and to tidying the nest – it’s fascinating to watch.

“We’re delighted and very relieved that they haven’t been phased by the camera at all and are now incubating two eggs, which we estimate could hatch around the second week in April.”

Where can I see them?

The exact location of the nest is not being disclosed to the public to avoid disturbance.

Visitors to RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten Nature Centre can view the live feed daily throughout the spring and summer.

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