Ireland: Update on Aoibheall, her siblings and the reintroduction project
At Lough Derg the female White-tailed Eagle chick took her first flight last week. She was named Cealtra
(Inis Cealtra – Holy Island).
This maiden flight is a great success for the Irish reintroduction project. And it is the third successful year in a row for the local breeding pair Caimin and Saoirse, both natives of Norway. According to The Golden Eagle Trust
, the parent birds were hatched on the island of Frøya and were collected under licence and released in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry. In 2013 this couple reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in over 100 years.
A juvenile White-tailed Eagle above its nest on Litløya, Norway
By Littleisland lighthouse (White-tailed eagle Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY-SA 2.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
One hundred White-tailed Eagles were released between 2007 and 2011 in the Killarney National Park. To date about 30 birds have been recovered dead, mainly due to illegal poisoning. Among the victims was one of the famous siblings from 2013. This son of Caimin and Saoirse was found dead seven month after leaving the nest. A post mortem showed that the young raptor had been shot.
Killarney National Park
By Joseph Mischyshyn [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Aoibheall, the female chick born in 2014 at Lough Derg, was fitted with a transmitter. Like her this year´s sister she left the nest when she was over 12 weeks old. She was fed by her parents near the nest, and the GPS data proved that she stayed within two kilometres of her home. In late November the first longer trip was reported (about 20 kilometres), seemingly “monitored” by her father who was coincidentally spotted in the same area on the very same day. In mid-December Aoibheall became more adventurous and left the region. The Golden Eagle Trust was able to follow her via GPS until early spring.
According to an article, published on Wednesday in The Clare Herald
, project manager Allan Mee told the newspaper that “the transmitter happened to somehow fall off Aoibheall and was located shortly after the reading remained static.” Her fate is uncertain. Mee said “there are no recent sightings of her” – but “hope remains that she is safe.”
Aoibheall´s transmitter was reused. Her sister Cealtra carries it now, and if everything goes well, her movements will be tracked over the next years.