Farmers are once again being asked to help in any way they can with the reintroduction of white-tailed eagle chicks.
Farmers have been asked to remove or bury any animals or pests killed by lead shot on their land. They have also been asked to use rodenticide safely around their farms.
These small measures will aid the reintroduction of 21 white-tailed eagle chicks that have been released into the wild.
The Norwegian-born eagle chicks were released into the wild at the four sites in Munster – on the Shannon Estuary; Lough Derg; Waterford and in Killarney National Park.
They were collected under licence in June from nests throughout the Trondheim area of west-central Norway by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.
The chicks first arrived in Ireland on 25 June of this year. They had been kept in purpose-built enclosures in Munster while they grew, matured and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight.
The birds were carefully monitored and tagged by National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) staff. The satellite tags will allow the project to monitor their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population.
The first phase ran from 2007-2011 and managed by the NWPS and the Golden Eagle Trust, 100 chicks were released into the wild
This is the second phase of the project which was launched last year, when 10 Norwegian-born chicks were flown to Ireland and released into the wild.
Of these 10 chicks, nine are still alive and have travelled throughout the country, with one even travelling to Scotland.
The first phase ran from 2007-2011 and managed by the NWPS and the Golden Eagle Trust, 100 chicks were released into the wild.
The white-tailed eagle was once an integral part of Ireland’s landscape
Since then, over 35 chicks were born in Ireland and some have begun to rear their own chicks. This year-one nesting pair on Lough Derg produced three chicks. This is uncommon, even in the very extensive wild populations in Norway.
The white-tailed eagle was once an integral part of Ireland’s landscape, but they were driven to extinction by human persecution in the late 19th century, a development which the programme seeks to reverse.
These are milestone moments for Irish-Norwegian reintroduction programme, and it is a significant initiative for biodiversity in Ireland. It is part of a long-term scientific collaboration to restore a native, once-extinct bird to Irish skies.
The IFA supports the hard work of the NPWS and encourages farmers to implement these changes. The NPWS say they recognise landowners and farmers in particular, without their enthusiastic support in monitoring nest sites and the care of birds, the project could not succeed.