4 March 2024

Meet Talla


by Rick T.

4 March 2024

Talla (F15) is a young male golden eagle, collected on the 15th of June 2023 from Ardverikie Estate in the central Highlands. The collection team included project team members, raptor worker Dave Pierce and climbers Jon Brain and Dominic McAdam.

Talla was adopted and named by the Borders Forest Trust after their Talla Valley rewilding project. BFT took ownership of Talla in 2013 and has been the focus of extensive native tree planting and peatland restoration.

Above: Talla in the aviary, June 2023. Below: Talla & Gameshope BFT habitat - photo by Colin McLean ©

There are two main valleys, Talla and Gameshope. Gameshope valley has similar characteristics to a Highland glen, with steep rugged slopes and crags, while Talla is more rolling glacial features. The property adjoins Carrifran Wildwood, which is to the south, with the nearest part of Corehead just over a mile to the west.

Adrian Kershaw of Borders Forest Trust said:

‘Talla was named by the staff team at Borders Forest Trust. The eagle is named after Talla Valley, Water and Craigs, which are owned and managed by BFT and where eagles can regularly be seen. The SSGEP has brought visitors to our sites, the town of Moffat and the Moffat Hills, and BFT are proud to be working in partnership with them’.

Talla was released on the 19th of July alongside Haworth (164), Donald (F47) and Spirit G26 (after sharing an aviary with Maple F24) at a weight of 3.75kg, he was the smallest eagle to be released in 2023.

Talla dispersed from the release site early in on September 4th, hunting for himself and wintering in the Tweedsmuir hills before beginning to explore further afield in February 2024.

Raptor worker Dave Pierce (who also monitors the nest which Buccy 261 was collected from in 2022) 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”.

Ardverikie is one of Scotland’s oldest and most famous Great Estates. Having been in the same ownership for over 150 years, Ardverikie is in the unique position of having been sympathetically managed with a core value of environmental stewardship for that entire period.

The Estate shared:

‘Ardverikie is delighted to be able to support the Eagle Project, and is especially pleased that our own flourishing eagle population has been able to make a contribution to the valuable work being carried out to enhance eagle populations elsewhere in Scotland.’

Talla exploring shortly after release - photo John Wright.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog.

Visit Colin Mclean's website for more stunning images of Border Forest Trust sites HERE