Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Ringing a Golden Eagle Chick

Yesterday I was up in one the more remote glens in the Scottish Highlands ringing a Golden Eagle chick. The eyrie is set in a high corrie, on a cliff overlooking the wide glen below.

There was only one chick in the nest, about six and a half weeks old. It would have hatched in mid-May when the weather was rather wet and windy, which could explain why there was only one chick when eagles in that area can easily rear two chicks per year. Eagles here usually lay two eggs and as there was no sign of a failed egg, it could be assumed that one chick had died earlier - perhaps due to the adults not being able to provide enough food for two.

Ewan Weston clambered over to the nest and ringed the chick as well as collected DNA samples for parental identity and other relatedness with other samples from birds collected over recent years. The nest is typically large for a golden eagle and easily big enough to hold our weight and size as well as that of the chick.

 Prey items in and around the eyrie included mountain leveret, red grouse chick, meadow pipit juvenile and a water vole - a species considered rare in the UK now, although they are common in some Highland glens such as where this one would have been caught.

No comments:

Post a Comment