20 January 2023

Meet Ragnar


by Rick T.

20 January 2023

Ragnar (G5 26) is a male golden eagle and the was the smallest of the 2022 eagles, weighing in at 3.5kg.

Ragnar was collected from donor estate Pitmain & Glenbanchor Estate, near Newtonmore from a breeding golden eagle pair monitored by Highland Raptor Study Group member, Dave Pierce.

Graham Mabon, Head Gamekeeper at Pitmain & Glenbanchor Estate said: “We’re delighted our resident Glenbanchor eagles have managed to again raise a brood of two young eaglets. Through the translocation of one of the eaglet chicks, the estate has supported the expansion of these majestic birds into their southern range. Our management of the estate, particularly for grouse shooting, allows us to create a habitat where a rich array of bird species and other wildlife can thrive. The biodiversity on our estate is fantastic and we’re delighted that golden eagles are present and flourishing.”

Dave Pierce Highland Raptor Study Group said "I am fortunate to live in a district where golden eagle pairs have a high breeding productivity and numbers have increased in recent years. I am pleased to be able to locate suitable eaglets from this population to be released in Southern Scotland to supplement the low numbers there. Golden eagles are masterful fliers, a sight to behold and hopefully the project will enable more people to enjoy that experience”.

Ragnar was the third eagle collected in summer of 2022, and was of similar age and size to H03(Thistle), so housed with him.

‘Ragnar’ was named by the landowner of the 2022 release site who will remain anonymous at this time, to protect the confidentiality of the release site.

Ragnar and Thistle were the first eagles to be released in the summer and Ragnar was the first eagle to leave the aviary. Both Ragnar and Thistle spent the first couple of hours after release on the grass in front of the aviaries exploring mostly on foot, playing with clods of earth.

Ragnar dispersed from the release site in October 2022 and has been hunting for himself since then.

Ragnar has very limited white in upper primaries and could be distinguished from the other newly released eagles in flight from around a mile away.

This photo shows Ragnar honing his hunting skills chasing a Raven.

Photos: John Wright