A pair of white-tailed eagles, also known as sea eagles, has been seen in Hoy every year since 2013 but nesting attempts have been unsuccessful. It is thought that this chick is from a new couple, made up of the previous female pairing with a new male.
After observing the parents’ behaviour, RSPB Scotland believes that there may also be another hatchling.
“It’s fantastic that the eggs laid in spring have hatched, the first successful breeding season here since the 19th century,” says Lee Shields, the RSPB Scotland warden for Hoy. “This breeding attempt is still at the early stages, with young often in the nest for up to 14 weeks.”
The species became extinct in the UK in 1918 but 82 birds were reintroduced from Norway to Scotland between 1975 and 1985.
The nest, known as an eyrie, is perched high on a cliff face well hidden from the naked eye. RSPB Scotland is running “Eaglewatch” every day in the nearby Dwarfie Stone car park, allowing people to catch a glimpse without disturbing the new parents and their young.
Shields adds, “Even though they hadn’t nested here since 1873, white-tailed eagles have long been associated with Orkney’s natural and cultural heritage.”
Main image: One of the parent eagles flying near the nest. © Raymond Besant/Orkney.com