The story of Scotland’s sea eagle population

Sea eagles divide opinion; they’re a treat for birdwatchers but are despised by some crofters.

John A Love was part of the team that brought the birds back to Scotland in the 1970s and chronicled their reintroduction in his 1993 book, The Return Of The Sea Eagle.

Twenty years later, he brings the story up to date, revisiting the Rum project and weaving in stories of similar schemes in Wester Ross and Fife.

While admitting that sea eagles can have a localised effect in some areas, Love uses evidence to dismiss many claims made about their impact.

Love also places sea eagles – or white-tailed eagles – in their broader context by examining similar reintroduction projects in south-west Ireland, as well as their status in Norway, from where the reintroduced Scottish birds came.

In a similar style to Roy Dennis’ A Life Of Ospreys, Love mixes science and memoir in an accessible way.

Although Love’s prose isn’t as engaging or elegant as Dennis’ words, the book is peppered in a similar fashion with the author’s own photographs, chronicling his involvement in the original project.

It is these photographs and the accompanying stories that bring the book to life, lifting it beyond simply being a scientific analysis and turning it into a personal reflection on the birds and their relationship with humans.

A Saga of Sea Eagles, by John A Love, published by Whittles Publishing, £19.99.

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