Orkney's eagle chicks take to the skies!

Orkney's new white-tailed eagle chicks have successfully fledged and have been seen flying above the island of Hoy.

Orkney’s new white-tailed eagle chicks have taken to the skies above the islands for the first time.

The pair successfully fledged this week, with both chicks spotted in the air above their nest site in Hoy by local RSPB Scotland volunteers.

One of the chicks preparing for flight in the nest - image by Ian Cunningham
One of the chicks preparing for flight in the nest - image by Ian Cunningham

It marks the end of the first successful breeding season in Orkney for 145 years, after failed attempts in 2015 and 2016. This year the female bird from recent years returned with a new male partner.

In recent weeks the new chicks have become increasingly visible in the next, which sits high in the cliffs above the Dwarfie Stane. Both birds have been hopping up and down, preparing for their maiden flights, whilst still receiving regular food drops from mum and dad!

One of the adult white-tailed eagles - image by Ian Cunningham
One of the adult white-tailed eagles - image by Ian Cunningham

Local wildlife cameraman, Raymond Besant, captured footage of the chicks on the hillside above the cliffs earlier this week, leading to speculation that they were ready to fly for the first time. That has now been confirmed, and it’s hoped the family of four will stay in the territory for some time yet.

The two chicks on the hillside in Hoy
The two chicks on the hillside in Hoy

RSPB Scotland runs its ‘Eaglewatch’ every day between 11am – 4pm from the Dwarfie Stane car park, giving visitors the chance to see and learn about the eagles. Experts will be on-hand to point out the nest, with high-powered scopes also available.

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