Duke of Northumberland gives Scottish eagles a boost

AN ESTATE owned by the Duke of Northumberland has built two artificial nests to help the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project.

Conservationists hope that the nests – or “eyries” – on Burncastle Estate near the Lammermuir Hills will be used by birds that have been moved to the South of Scotland to try to re-establish a breeding population.

Seventeen estates have helped to increase the local population of golden eagles to 38 – the highest number recorded for three centuries.

Project manager Cat Barlow said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Northumberland Estates for being the first to create these very welcoming, carefully constructed eyries.

“Golden eagles typically begin to breed at around three to four years of age, so this is a particularly crucial time for the birds we first released in 2018 to have plenty of places to settle.

“Before the project’s translocations began, we spent 11 years working with project partners and raptor experts to identify a significant number of areas where they could do this.

“After so many years it is fantastic to witness the eagles now doing just that and exploring long-empty historical ranges.

“With support from estates such as the Northumberland Estates and raptor experts, along with a team of highly skilled climbers and the Southern Upland Moorland Group, we’re hoping these new artificial platforms will help the birds settle in areas we thought previously lost as nesting areas.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss Andy Dobson’s article about wildcats in the May issue of Scottish Field magazine.