First sea eagle chicks in 100 years take flight in Kerry

Reintroduction project involves phased release of 100 birds in Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park: one of the white-tailed sea eagle chicks  hatched in the park. Photograph: Gareth McCormack/Imagefile

Killarney National Park: one of the white-tailed sea eagle chicks hatched in the park. Photograph: Gareth McCormack/Imagefile

 

The first white-tailed sea eagles chicks in Co Kerry in over 100 years have successfully flown their nests.

One was hatched in Killarney National Park by a pair which had failed twice previously and the other was hatched near Kenmare, by a pair in its first attempt.

The Killarney chick is being fed by its parents around Lough Lein and the birds have been seen by boatmen and tourists. The chick is likely to remain there for some months before heading off to another part of the country.

Over the last month, a total of four chicks have fledged, bringing to seven the number to have flown in the wild in Ireland since 2013.

The reintroduction project, from Norway, which involved the phased release of 100 birds in Killarney National Park, has had a number of setbacks, mainly due to poisonings. Three birds have been lost this year.

The breeding population is spread across four counties from Glengarriff, in west Cork, to Connemara, Co Galway, with Lough Derg, near Mountshannon, Co Clare, being the most successful hatching location.

Four of the seven chicks were fledged in in Lough Derg, which has two breeding pairs .

Project director Dr Allan Mee welcomed the latest developments as a positive sign towards the goal of establishing a self-sustaining, sea eagle population in Ireland.

At present, the breeding population is spread across four counties from Glengarriff, in West Cork, to Connemara, Co Galway, with Lough Derg, near Mountshannon, Co Clare, being the most successful hatching location.

Four of the seven chicks were fledged in in Lough Derg, which has two breeding pairs.

The eagles are tracked through satellite-tagging.

Dr Mee, project director said areas like Glengarriff, Mountshannon and Killarney are seeing benefits in tourism and a viewing-cum-information point is open at the pier, in Mountshannon.