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Mull white-tailed sea eagle thriving months after being treated at Scottish SPCA wildlife hospital

A few hours from death, a white-tailed sea eagle is now thriving on Rum. Picture supplied by RSPB.
A few hours from death, a white-tailed sea eagle is now thriving on Rum. Picture supplied by RSPB.

A rare white-tailed sea eagle is thriving months after being rescued and treated in a joint effort by the Scottish SPCA and RSPB Scotland.

The Scottish SPCA successfully rehabilitated and released the white-tailed sea eagle at its National Wildlife Rescue Centre on Mull.

The bird was found “in distress” by member of the public Jamie Ramsay, and then rescued by local RSPB officer Dave Sexton.

‘Dazed and struggling to fly’

Sea eagle and otter captured hanging out on Mull are best of friends despite a lack of social graces Picture supplied by RSPB Scotland.

The bird was dazed and struggling to fly when he was discovered in October 2021.

Mr Ramsay, who originally discovered the eagle, said, “I am so pleased to see that the white-tailed sea eagle I found on the Isle of Mull has been spotted alive and well on the Isle of Rum.

“I stumbled across the eagle while on a walk and immediately noticed something was wrong.

“The bird managed to take to the air but something told me to check he had flown safely to a rocky outcrop. I then spotted the eagle about 200metres out to sea and in obvious distress. The eagle used his wings to swim back to shore.

“The next morning I returned at first light and luckily found him huddled next to a rock, drenched and clearly exhausted.

“I noticed that the eagle was below the tide line and the tide was coming back in. I tried to usher him up to higher ground but he seemed to have lost his fight.”

Mr Ramsay tried the Scottish SPCA but they were unable to attend, so he reached out to Mr Sexton from the RSPB.

“He was soon on his way and successfully rescued the now clearly exhausted eagle,” he added.

Seeing the bird alive and happy ‘fills me with joy’

“Seeing the image of that same eagle alive and happy, and most importantly in the wild where he belongs, fills me with so much joy. I didn’t know much about sea eagles before but now I have learnt their history I can appreciate just how special that bird is.”

Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre assistant manager, April Sorley, said: “White-tailed sea eagles are one of the rarer species that come to our centre, and always cause a bit of excitement.

A white tailed sea eagle is now thriving on Mull. Picture supplied by RSPB.

“He came in to our care on October 17, and was immediately checked over by our veterinary team.”

The team found he was underweight, and would need to regain weight before he was back fending for himself in the wild.

The centre manager continued: “He was ringed and released on November 6 back at Treshnish Farm (on Mull) where he was originally found, with the help of islanders.

“Knowing a wild animal is doing well after being in our care is the most rewarding aspect of our work at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre.”

Eagle was an hour away from drowning

White-tailed sea eagle on Rum. Picture supplied by RSPB.

The white-tailed sea eagle has recently been seen on the Isle of Rum, about 30 miles from the site where he was released at the beginning of November.

‘Just an hour away from drowning’

Mr Sexton, RSPB Scotland Mull officer, said: “When Jamie and I rescued the eagle, I think he was probably just an hour or so away from drowning as he was cold, wet and exhausted and couldn’t move from where he was with the tide rising.

“He didn’t have the energy to resist capture. Maybe he was relieved.

“We rushed him to Oban on the Calmac ferry and into the care of the Scottish SPCA. To see him now feeding at a deer carcass on the camera trap set by Sean Morris on Rum over four months later is just wonderful.

“He’s clearly thriving and, with all the bad news in the world just now, it really helped to lift my spirits to see this young eagle surviving a tough winter, back in the wild where he belongs”.

If anyone finds a sick or injured wild animal, they can call the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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