“Flying high above,
scanning the island below,
this is her Kingdom”
The White-tailed eagle was hunted to extinction in the 1800’s and was introduced to the west coast of Scotland in the 1970’s and 1990’s. They were reintroduced to the east coast in 2007. There are now breeding pairs on Skye, Rum , Mull and on the east coast.
The White- tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in the United Kingdom and has a wingspan of 2.5 metres. The birds are almost 1 metre in height. The head and tail are pale in colour which, gives them their name. They are larger than the Golden eagle. They scavenge on carrion but, they also hunt seabirds, rabbits, fish and unfortunately, have been known to catch lambs.
The video was filmed yesterday in the Sound of Raasay of a large female known locally as “Fifey”. She was reintroduced to the East coast between 2007 and 2009. She flew to Skye shortly after this time and made the Sound of Raasay her territory. She can be ferocious when protecting her food from Gulls and Hooded crows.
In the film you can see her wing tags fitted before her release. She has bred successfully for a number of years and reared two healthy chicks this season.
White-tailed eagle hunting in the Sound of Raasay, Skye
The eagle took her catch to a small island in the sound. The crew could see her holding the fish in place with her deadly talons while, she tore it apart with her huge beak.
The image below is of a juvenile White-tailed eagle catching a fish, thrown by a crew member of the Stardust Sea Eagle boat, Portree.