WATCH: Second white-tailed eagle hatches at West Cork nature reserve

WATCH: Second white-tailed eagle hatches at West Cork nature reserve
A second white-tailed eagle chick has hatched at Glengarriff Nature Reserve.

Glengarriff Nature Reserve has announced the arrival of a second white-tailed sea eagle chick.

The second chick hatched yesterday, less than one week after the first white-tailed eagle chick was born at the nature reserve in West Cork.

Parents Black P (female) and Blue W (male) are two of the 100 eagle chicks brought to Ireland from Norway from 2007 to 2011 as part of a programme to introduce this iconic species back to Irish skies after a century of extinction.

Extinct in Ireland for over a century, the eagles have been brought back to these shores in a major wildlife programme which has seen three chicks hatched in the last decade.

Conservation Ranger Clare Heardman, who’s been heavily involved with the eagle reintroduction programme, said: “I was so excited to catch the first glimpses of a fluffy little chick in the nest. It was such a tender moment to see this massive bird feeding its tiny chick so delicately.

“Because of my work I get the chance to see eagles almost every day, but I never tire of it. I continue to pinch myself that we have these magnificent birds back in our skies after an absence of 100 years.” Despite the pressures of the Covid-19 situation, rangers have had a bird’s eye view of the latest developments with its dedicated live-streaming webcam which can also be viewed by the public on YouTube.

“Covid-19 has severely restricted the amount of monitoring we can do this year, so we are especially lucky to have this camera set up so we can remotely monitor the Glengarriff nest,” Ms Heardman said.

“It's a particular thrill this year to be able to share some of the excitement of watching eagles at the nest with a much wider audience. Many people are largely confined to home at the moment so I hope bringing this bit of nature to people, wherever they are, brings a spark of joy and a message of hope.” 

The live-streaming webcam was set up by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, working with the OPW. The camera offers close-up insights of the parents' rituals as they awaited the birth of the chicks.

Eagles have been nesting in Glengarriff since 2013. In 2016, a pair of eagles raised the first eagle chick named Eddie in County Cork in over a century. Sadly, his remains were found on a headland in Dingle in 2018.

Ireland’s new influx of eagles are gradually becoming established breeders with around a dozen nesting pairs currently in counties Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Galway.

The White-Tailed Sea Eagle reintroduction programme, managed by Dr Allan Mee, is a joint initiative between the NPWS and Golden Eagle Trust in collaboration with the Norsk Institutt for Naturforskning and the Norwegian Ornithological Society.

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