Golden eagle successfully bred at Highlands estate

Chick born at Dundreggan rewilding estate in Glenmoriston five years after artificial nest set up.

Golden eagle successfully bred at Highlands estate SWNS

Golden eagles have reared a chick in an artificial nest at a Highlands estate for the first time in 40 years.

The chick was born at Dundreggan rewilding estate in Glenmoriston, five years after the nest was set up.

There was no certainty the project would work, as golden eagles build their own nests in remote and inaccessible places, and are highly sensitive to disturbance.

But conservationists at the Trees for Life charity are celebrating after the chick flew the nest for the first time.

Doug Gilbert, the charity’s Dundreggan manager, said: “This is a rewilding success story beyond our wildest dreams.

“I’ve been checking the eyrie regularly since we built it in 2015, hoping to see evidence that the eagles had returned – and now they have.

“As golden eagles may use their nesting sites for generations, we’re hoping they are back for the long-term.

“Four decades without golden eagles breeding or establishing themselves in this part of our wild and beautiful Highland glen have been four decades too long.

“When we built the artificial nest, we knew it was in a good location for eagles because we found the remains of an old nest at the site.

“We’ve been keeping our fingers crossed for the past five years, and it’s wonderful that our efforts have paid off like this.”

Golden eagles are regularly seen over Dundreggan, but until now there has been no sign of them nesting or setting up a territory.

The golden eagle is the United Kingdom’s second-largest bird of prey, after the white-tailed eagle.

It is native to Britain, but centuries of persecution saw it driven into extinction in England and Wales by the mid-1800s.

The bird has been making a slow recovery in Scotland but continues to be threatened by illegal persecution, with reports of golden eagles being shot or poisoned.

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