Meet Paudie, the first eagle born in Co Kerry for over 100 years
Team tackle difficult terrain high on Tomies Mountain to reach eyrie and tag white-tailed sea eagle
Dr Allan Mee, White-Tailed Eagle Project, right, with Frank McMahon, district conservation officer of NPWS, with “Paudie”, the first white-tailed eagle chick in Ireland in over 110 years. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan
It took the wildlife team three hours to walk and climb to the perch high above the scenic lakes of Killarney National Park where they tagged the first eagle to be born in Co Kerry in more than 100 years.
The lakes had been associated with eagles, particularly golden eagles, since ancient times, but the birds were shot and poisoned to extinction in the early 1900s.
The 21st-century chick, “Paudie”, is a white-tailed sea eagle. Now eight weeks old, he weighs 3.35kg and is still in the nest. The scientist in charge of the operation, Dr Allan Mee, said it would be some weeks before the chick is airborne. Evidence of fish and small mammals – but not lambs, he reassured farmers – was found in the nest.
The eagle team, which includes photographer Valerie O’Sullivan, tackled difficult terrain high on Tomies Mountain to reach the eyrie, in the heart of some of Ireland’s oldest deciduous woodland.
The mother eagle, who had been in the nest with her son, circled and “called” as he was taken down by a tree-climber to have a satellite tag attached and quickly put back in his lair.
Paudie will be raised by both parents until he leaves the nest. Eagles generally mate for life, which can be up to 30 years.
The six-year-old female and five-year-old male were taken from Norway in 2007 and 2008 respectively as part of the white-tailed eagle reintroduction programme.