Rare white-tailed eaglet at Cork nature reserve named

Rare white-tailed eaglet at Cork nature reserve named
18-week-old white-tailed eaglet Sunniva. Photo credit: NPWS.

Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve has named its white-tailed eaglet after almost 500 people sent name suggestions for the 18-week-old female.

After what employees said was a “a hard decision” after so many great names were suggested, they decided on the name Sunniva.

The name, which means ‘gift of the sun’ was suggested by the Norwegian Embassy in Dublin who said that St Sunniva was the first Norwegian female saint and she was an Irish born princess.

Employees said that the name nicely reflects the Sunniva’s Irish-Norwegian heritage as the eaglet’s parents were both Norweigan, brought to Ireland in 2010 and 2011 as part of the white-tailed sea eagle reintroduction programme.

Sunniva is one of 31 chicks to fledge so far in Ireland as a result of the project.

The eaglet was first fitted with wing and satellite tags back in June when she was the same size and weight as an adult at just nine weeks old, weighing 6.8kg.

The original Irish-born princess Sunniva is reported to have been an heir to an Irish Kingdom who fled to Norway when an invading heathen king wanted to marry her.

She hid in an island cave with her followers until her death, after which she became the patron saint of Western Norway.

In a social media post, Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve said: “We're eternally grateful to Norway who donated 100 white-tailed eagles between 2007 and 2011, two of which are this chick's parents: Black P (2011) and Blue W (2010). Still pinching ourselves about having this iconic species back in Irish skies.”

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