Sunday 20 August 2017

Ardnamurchan's Golden eagles have bred successfully this year

A survey of Scotland's golden eagle population carried out in 2015 showed that in 12 years the population had increased from 442 breeding pairs to 508 pairs an increase of 15 per cent. Now that breeding pairs exceed 500 the species is re-classified as  being of "favourable conservation status.Key facts about Golden eagles
 Ardnamurchan Golden eagle

The greatest recovery was in the Northern highlands but west of Inverness to the Atlantic coast the population was more or less static due to a number of factors; overgrazing by red deer reduced the quality of the habitat for eagle prey species, persecution, increased recreational activity, forestry and high Spring / Summer rainfall could have contributed. Hamza's facebook site

In 2015 and 2016 our local pair did not breed successfully. Hamsa, who has been monitoring these birds thinks that their lack of success in the past has been due to poor nutrition and that the provision of carrion as carcasses in Winter / Spring this year was a factor in their success. This has perhaps the added advantage of diverting the birds from killing live lambs during lambing.

There has been some speculation about the possible effect of inter-specific competition between Golden eagles and Sea eagles and the effect that this might have on Golden eagle populations and breeding success. Research in Norway has shown that despite the Golden eagles being smaller, they dominate Sea eagles when in direct competition for carcasses.

In Scotland however, inter-specific competition may play a role the numbers of both species in future when territories overlap and food is scarce.

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