Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Updated: Golden Eagles

More details from the Irish Times (see below).

Some fecker or feckers poisoned at least one Golden Eagle:
The 10-month-old bird was found on the remote fringes of Glenveagh National Park on February 19. Toxicology tests carried out since then revealed the young female, which was brought to the county last August, had been poisoned ... It is understood two suspects have been identified over the death. The bird, which came from the island of Mull in Scotland, was found on mountains between the townlands of Tore, Crolly and Dunlewey village using satellite tracking systems.

Probably some farmer is responsible, who thinks that the eagles are going to go after his herd of sheep. The group releasing the birds in Donegal have repeatedly said that the Eagles rarely go for sheep or lambs. However, the birds are opportunists and if they find a dead sheep or lamb will happily dig in. But if people see them chowing down then they blame the eagles for the kill. (I might have been wrong about this, see the Irish Times article linked below, poison may have been left out to target other animals, and not specifically eagles. But, poisoning has to be done within the law, and this may not have been).

For more info see the Golden Eagle Trust at:

Update, more from the RTE:
... believes more birds may have been 'lost to persecution in this area' since 2005 and he referred to a young pair which have not been seen since spring 2006. 'Eagles very rarely die from natural causes at that age,' he said, 'and we now believe that they were also poisoned.

Update 2: even more details from the Irish Times, the IFA condemns this suspected type of poisoning, and most of the farmers support the reintroduction of the eagles:
There is a strong possibility the bird may have been killed from consuming poison which had been laid in a carcass to target hooded crows or foxes in advance of the lambing season.

It is illegal to apply poison to fallen livestock and not to remove fallen livestock from farmlands.

Mr O'Toole said: "The person that put out poison on this meat bait would have been aware of the presence of golden eagles in this area, as it is within or adjacent to the release area in Glenveagh National Park."

He said the Trust had spoken to all key stakeholders in this particular area regularly about its work.

"The person in question would have been aware of the risk to scavenging eagles from all poisoned meat baits and obviously has little respect for the native wildlife or heritage they are surrounded by," he said.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley said: "The poisoning of such magnificent birds serves to damage our reputation as a country that promotes a high-quality natural environment and respects and protects our wildlife ... I have been concerned since then that our laws regarding the use of poisoned bait are not strong enough, and that a very small number of people have been acting irresponsibly and possibly illegally in this regard," he said.

The Irish Farmers Association's representative for the area Davie Keith said this sort of poisoning was "absolutely unacceptable".

Mr Keith said farmers have supported the reintroduction of the golden eagles in Co Donegal and "any form of diversification in a rural county such as this must be applauded".

And if you never been I highly recommend going to the Bird Sanctuary, Eagles Flying, near Ballymote, Co. Sligo:
It really is worth it, and they talk about the birds and what they can and can't do. By law they can't have any native Irish birds of prey. But, I think they do have one Golden Eagle that someone imported and had as a pet or for falconry.

They might not be doing any demonstrations until Spring time, so phone ahead!

And here's a pic I took there last year:
More pics on Flickr:


Mick T. said...

That's not a Golden Eagle, but an Eagle found in Eastern Europe.

Mick T. said...

More eagles poisoned, this time in Kerry: