Breeding Golden Eagles in Co. Donegal

Golden Eagle: (Photo: Bill Jackson) Golden Eagle: (Photo: Steve Round)

Two Golden Eagles have nested in County Donegal, laying the first egg on Irish soil since 1912. The birds are part of a reintroduction scheme which began at Glenveagh National Park in 2001 and over 30 birds have now been released in the wilds of Ireland. Chicks for the project have been collected under license from Scottish Natural Heritage over the past 4 years and there has been great assistance from the Scottish raptor study groups. Research suggests that County Donegal could eventually hold 7-10 pairs of these magnificent raptors, and Ireland may eventually have 50-100 pairs if the project is successful.

John Cromie, Technical Director of BirdGuides, who lives in Donegal and has been actively involved with the reintroduction project through the Irish Raptor Study Group, comments: "This breeding attempt, within just four years of the first chick arriving from Scotland, has raised everyone's hopes that before long we will once again have native eagles gracing their ancient haunts in the mountains of Donegal."

Unfortunately the egg failed to hatch on this occasion, but all of us at BirdGuides endorse the comments of Lorcan O'Toole, the project director at Glenveagh, who commented "we are all looking forward to the day when a Donegal-bred eagle takes to the sky".

To find out more about the project, see: http://www.goldeneagle.ie/

Written by: Russell Slack