Project Blog

17 January 2023

Emma the Eagle


by Philip M.

17 January 2023

All the translocated eagles continue to do well, the 6 juveniles released in summer 2022 have now moved away from the release site and all are now hunting for themselves.

Eagles from previous summer and winter releases are exploring the southern skies and investigating feeding grounds and potential territories.

We monitor the progress of all the project eagles released as part of the translocation project. One of the eagles from 2021 summer release (now 18 months old) F02, Emma, has evidently managed to remove her harness, which had a satellite tag attached to it. ‘Emma’ was named by Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity since 2021.

Our team closely follows the movements of each released bird, and we noticed that one of the tags had become stationery for a long period of time.

A careful search of the area revealed Emma’s discarded satellite tag, which had clearly fallen off the bird. An inspection of the site, the tag and harness threads by our team and Scientific Advisory Panel members tagging experts, points to the eagle having removed the tag herself. Two eagles were observed by the team flying overhead in the vicinity of the dropped tag– one a 1-2 year old female and the other a 4-5 year old male.

Eagles can be identified by the unique patterns on their wings by experienced ornithologists, like SSGEP Eagle Officer John Wright, and this female eagle had underwing patterns matching that of F02 Emma. We are confident that the eagle observed was F02 Emma and that she remains in the area.

It is rare for satellite tags to fall off so soon after fitting. The tags are fitted by experienced, licensed individuals and are well tolerated by the eagles, though we are constantly learning and revising our methods to better consider the birds. Sat tagging is now a well-established monitoring tool in conservation and hundreds of eagles and other birds of prey are monitored in this was across Scotland.

We are delighted to see F02 Emma thriving and interacting with other local eagles.