Golden eagle chicks born on Hoy, Orkney, are a sign that this majestic animal's comeback will only continue – Scotsman comment

Golden eagle chicks have been born on Orkney for the first time in nearly 40 years in the latest sign of the positive effects of our changed attitudes to wildlife.

Golden eagles have successfully hatched a chick or chicks on a nest on the Orkney island of Hoy (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Once hunted nearly to extinction, this majestic animal was recentlyvoted Scotland’s national bird and there is near-universal public support for the legal protection it now enjoys from persecution.

If an eagle dies in suspicious circumstances, it is headline news and anyone thinking of carrying out such a killing knows they may well face prosecution.

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While there are just 500 or so breeding pairs in Scotland, there are encouraging signs that their numbers are only set to increase.

The pair of golden eagles who have just successfully hatched at least one chick on the island of Hoy, the second largest of the islands that form Orkney represent expansion of their territory to the north.

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And last year, an intrepid golden eagle called Beaky, who had been moved from the Highlands to southern Scotland, flew about 90 miles into England.

It surely will not be too long before England also has a breeding population of its own and can experience the same sense of wonder as expressed by Lee Shields, RSPB Scotland’s warden on Hoy.

“It is wonderful to see these magnificent eagles return to Orkney and we’re delighted that they are nesting in Hoy... they have been missing here for too long,” she said. “It is an inspiring sight to see the male and female soaring over the Hoy hills.”

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