White-tailed eagles successfully hatch chicks across the country

White-tailed eagles have successfully hatched chicks across four counties in Ireland, the Golden Eagle Trust has said.

The Trust says that eight pairs of White-tailed Eagles have nested and laid eggs with five nests successfully hatching chicks in counties Clare, Cork, Galway and Kerry.

It says that in the last few weeks chicks hatched in nests on Lough Derg at Mountshannon, Co. Clare, at Glengarriff in West Cork, and in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry.

Pairs also successfully hatched chicks at a nest in Co. Galway for the first time, at another site in Kerry and three other pairs nesting in Kerry failed to hatch successfully, it says.

Two of these ‘pairs’ were made up of trios: two males and a single female at one site and two females and a male at another, both in Kerry, the trust says.The first nest to hatch young in 2015 was at Glengarriff, Co. Cork,  in mid-April with fledging (its first flight) expected in early July (11-12 weeks old), it says.

The trust says that later in April a pair was confirmed to have hatched chicks at their usual nest site on Lough Derg, near Mountshannon, Co. Clare.

This pair created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in over 100 years.

The pair also reared the only chick to successfully fledge from a nest in 2014. Encouragingly two other pairs, one in Galway and another in Kerry both hatched chicks for the first time, it says.

Hopes are high in the Golden Eagel Trust that the five successful pairs will successfully raise chicks that will go on to form the basis of a viable population in Ireland.

This would potentially be the first White-tailed eagle chicks to fledge successfully in Kerry, Cork and Galway, Clare already having been successful in 2013 and 2014, it says.

These are the latest chicks of the high profile reintroduction programme which began in 2007 with the release of 100 young Norwegian eagles in Killarney National Park as part of the White-tailed Eagle Reintroduction Programme managed by the Golden Eagle Trust in partnership with the National Parks & Wildlife Service, it says.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys said it is great news that white tailed eagle chicks have been successfully hatched across four counties.

This is a considerable boost for the reintroduction programme and it is a very positive sign for the recovery of the species here.

“The White-tailed eagle is an iconic bird, which is very popular in local communities and of course attracts interest from visitors,” she said.

Dr. Allan Mee, Project Manager for the Golden Eagle Trust, said that the increase in the number of successful pairs is encouraging and bodes well for the species recovery in Ireland.

“The eagles have benefitted from the support of local communities and landowners, and their presence has the potential to enhance the rural economies of these areas, especially through wildlife tourism,” he said.

Speaking on RTE Radio about issues with chicks and bad weather he said that they’ve had problems in the past couple of years.

“Really bad weather can knock them out [of their nests], they’re pretty hardy birds. We’ve had disasters before like nests falling out of trees,” he said.