Reintroduced sea eagle chicks take to Clare skies

Chicks will stay with parents in coming weeks before setting off on their own in autumn

File picture of a young sea eagle chick.  Two native white-tailed sea eagle chicks have taken to the skies over Kerry for the first time in more than 100 years. Photo credit should read RSPB/PA

File picture of a young sea eagle chick. Two native white-tailed sea eagle chicks have taken to the skies over Kerry for the first time in more than 100 years. Photo credit should read RSPB/PA

Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 14:58

Two native white-tailed sea eagle chicks have taken to the skies over Co Clare for the first time in more than 100 years, the scientist in charge of the reintroduction project confirmed yesterday.

Dr Allan Mee, who has steered the project in the Killarney National Park, said the flight had been “six years in the making”. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said it marked “a great step forward in this ambitious project”.

The chicks, born in March, were seen flying near their nest on Lough Derg near Mountshannon, Co Clare, yesterday, Dr Mee has confirmed. However Paudie, the chick hatched in Tomies Mountain near the lakes of Killarney, died just before he was due to fly because his nest high in a tree fell apart. “I suspect the really dry weather and heat caused the sticks in the nest to become brittle," said Dr Mee.

This was the second attempt by the Clare pair – a five-year-old male and a four-year-old female who were brought to the Killarney National Park as chicks from Norway – to set up home together.

New nests take a long time to consolidate and the pair were inexperienced at nest building. Eagles mate for life and can live up to 30 years.

The two new chicks will stay with their parents in the coming weeks before setting off on their own in the autumn.