Today's Eagle People Profile features Andrea Hudspeth. Andrea is company owner, tour guide and principal ecologist at Aquila Ecology and Tayside Raptor Study Group member. She has also worked for the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Edinburgh Zoo as well as volunteering for overseas raptor work in Malta, Sicily and Cyprus.
A big thank you to Andrea for today's blog!
When did you first become interested in Birds of Prey?
That is difficult to answer, as it was such a long time ago! I think my interest was really piqued whilst reading about a peregrine falcon in a children’s book. The description made the bird seem so mysterious and powerful that I really wanted to see one after that. It started with captive displays of course, seeing the wild birds didn’t come until I was much older.
What is your role with the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project?
As a member of the Tayside Raptor Study Group any Golden Eagles I monitor which raise twins have the potential to become donors for the South of Scotland project.
What does the Golden Eagle mean to you?
Well, it’s an iconic species isn’t it? It continued presence in the southern Highlands where I live give a feeling of timelessness to the landscape. When you are out in the hills watching them, it could be any decade. I also admire their patience - they put up with a lot of mobbing from corvids and smaller raptors until they finally snap and give a stark, and sometimes fatal, warning that isn’t a good idea to mess with them. They really are the monarchs of the mountains.
Do you think it is important to help the Golden Eagle population in South of Scotland?
I think it’s important that Golden Eagles should be found in any area that has suitable habitat and food availability to support them. It is worrying that they are absent in many places where they should be prospering, such as the South of Scotland.
Do you have a favourite Golden Eagle story or memory?
I think discovering our local eagle pair’s eyrie was the best memory. For about two years we had noticed a young male eagle in the area which kept getting chased off by a pair which nest to the south and another pair which nest to the west. One day, we noticed a female too and it was apparent they had paired up. Later in the summer, we saw the pair again with a youngster in tow, so we knew they had bred successfully. Another member of our group described a gulley which he had seen an eagle fly into, and this fitted with our own observations. That autumn we walked up the steep hill up to the gulley, with one of us either side of the burn. It was whilst sitting amongst a stand of larch getting a breather, that I happened to look up at the rocks opposite and noticed a huge mass of sticks, the eyrie, I had found it! That was a great moment and we have been monitoring them and ringing the chicks there ever since.
Thank you to Andrea for her contribution - find out more about Andrea's company, Aquila Ecology here