A white-tailed eagle that got almost extinct in the UK due to illegal hunting was finally spotted flying over the Cornwall coast for the first time over 100 years
Earlier this year in Somerset, Kent and Norfolk, with two white-tailed birds – known as G318 and C393 were noticed flying as far north as Yorkshire.
In the early 20th century the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) disappeared from the UK.
It is among the largest bird of prey in the UK with a body length of up to three feet (90cm) and a wingspan pushing eight feet (2.4 metres)
Since the Middle Ages, the species was persecuted in Britain as it hunts game(feeds on hares, birds, and rabbits).
Currently, numbers are increasing after the legally-protected birds were bred in captivity on the Isle of Wight and set free into the wild last year.
UK organisation the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, which undertakes species restoration work posted on Twitter-
‘The latest satellite data shows this was G463, one of the 2020 juveniles from the Isle of Wight,’
‘It subsequently flew west to Land’s End before turning back around and heading east.
‘This is the bird’s first exploratory flight away from the Isle of Wight.’
Even though the species faced extinction in the UK, it is very well distributed, in Russia and as well as Norway.
Graeme Willetts, the one who clicked images in Padstow said that ‘The pictures were taken as we were walking back to the car along the cliff path at Hawker’s Cove.”
‘It was a breathtaking moment for all of us and we were only saying how little we’d seen up to that point.”
‘It was pure chance, right place, right time. We had initially gone out in hopes to see some migrant birds perhaps blown into that side of the coast.’
The white-tailed is found along the estuaries, rocky coastlines, and lochs near the sea.
This bird targets fish, water birds, as well as hares and rabbits as a source of food
The RSPB regards white-tailed eagles as ‘versatile and opportunistic hunters.’ They are now protected in the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.
In the year 2015, under the Birds of Conservation Concern list, it was classified as red which means ‘globally threatened’.
At present conservationists, the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England track them via GPS.
Photographers are encouraged to send the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation details on the organisation’s website of a white-tailed eagle sighting.