26 August 2021

Translocation 2021 - 8 new Eagles in Southern Skies


by Rick T.

26 August 2021

8 new arrivals to Southern Skies!

The 2021 translocations have been a fabulous success with 8 young Golden Eagles from the North joining Beaky, Emily, Edward and Skan to reinforce the population of Golden Eagles in the Southern Uplands.

The eight newly fledged eagle chicks have been named by a range of individuals and organisations, including BBC Autumnwatch and Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams, renowned wildlife film maker Gordon Buchanan, Moffat Mountain Rescue, Southern Uplands Moorland Group, Golden Eagle Champion Lorna Slater MSP, local school children, Daniel Lacey (a volunteer who built aviaries for the chicks) and the project team. Blackadder screenwriter Richard Curtis and actor Rowan Atkinson have also given permission to officially name one of the birds ‘Speckled Jim’ – the project team nicknamed him after General Melchett's favourite carrier pigeon, as he has a very unusual speckled plumage. The other birds’ names include Iona, Sinclair, (Golden) Shine, Ellenabeich (shortened to ‘Ellena’), Heather (pictured below), Tarras and Emma (named after the inspiring women’s equality and rights champion Emma Ritch).

Wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan chose the name 'Ellenabeich' saying "Its from the Gaelic ‘Eileen nam Beitheach' meaning Island of Birchwoods. I spent a lot of time watching an eagle nest and the parents often flew in from the direction of a village of the same name". Gordon will deliver the keynote speech at the Moffat 2021 festival in September.

As well as the exciting news of the successful translocation season and the Moffat 2021 Festival we also have the first video footage to share from one of the 2021 translocations. Dr Simon Dures accompanied the translocation team on one of the collections and has made a short documentary about the process which he has kindly shared with the project.

All of the newly released birds are in great condition , eating well and flying strongly, enjoying their freedom and new surroundings. Below is a short clip of four of the young birds taken by Eagle Officer John Wright through a telescope at the release site.

Stay tuned for more updates and exciting news about the Moffat 2021 Festival!