The oldest known white-tailed eagle in the UK has been identified as having been born in Scotland.
A ring fitted to a white-tailed eagle nestling that fledged in the Highlands in 1996 allowed the individual to be identified in the field as an adult bird in 2020, making it the oldest known bird of this species in in Britain and Ireland, according to the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) latest ringing report.
Lee Barber, ringing and nest recording surveys organiser at BTO, said: ‘930,088 birds were ringed by our 3,000 highly trained, licensed volunteers in 2020, a slightly lower total than normal due to the restrictions imposed as a result of Covid 19 The most commonly encountered species were Blue Tit, with 118,771 individuals ringed, Blackcap (66,799), Goldfinch (56,742), Great Tit (54,405) and Chiffchaff (46,001).
‘The large numbers of these species ringed allow us to compare how they are faring in different regions of Britain and Ireland, and in different habitats.’
BTO Researcher Rob Robinson is one of the scientists who analyses the huge dataset generated by the efforts of these volunteers.
He said: ‘By re-encountering these birds, either through reading of rings in the field or through recapture, researchers can determine whether survival rates are increasing or decreasing.
‘These re-encounters of individual birds help improve our understanding of their movements, identifying where young birds settle to breed for the first time and how pressures such as climate and land-use change, drive population declines. For example, recent BTO analyses based on the 15,000 curlew that have been ringed have shown that survival of adult birds is high, and that action to improve conditions for raising chicks is required.’
More information can be found on the Online Ringing Report HERE.