Eyrie site is pure gold

Golden Eagles are being re-introduced to the Borders. Photo: Phil Wilkinson.Golden Eagles are being re-introduced to the Borders. Photo: Phil Wilkinson.
Golden Eagles are being re-introduced to the Borders. Photo: Phil Wilkinson.
Working closely with a pioneering charity conservation project, the Duke of Northumberland’s Burncastle Estate near Lauder has become the first estate to build two new artificial golden eagle eyries to help restore a once thriving population in the south of Scotland.

As the project’s first translocated birds begin to settle and reach breeding age, the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project believes artificial eyries such as those now located in Burncastle will play a vital role in helping golden eagles re-establish even more territories in which they once thrived.

The latest development follows a series of groundbreaking translocations by the award-winning project which, thanks to support from more than 17 privately-owned estates, have increased the local population of golden eagles to 38 (the highest number recorded for three centuries).

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Speaking about their work with Burncastle, project manager Dr Cat Barlow said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Northumberland Estates for being the first to create these very welcoming, carefully constructed eyries.

“Golden eagles typically begin to breed at around three to four years of age, so this is a particularly crucial time for the birds we first released in 2018 to have plenty of places to settle. Before the Project’s translocations began, we spent 11 years working with project partners and raptor experts to identify a significant number of areas where they could do this.

"After so many years it is fantastic to witness the eagles now doing just that and exploring long-empty historical ranges.”

As eagle eyries need to blend into the natural surroundings, the eyries have been built with natural materials, using techniques that have been tried and tested by expert raptor workers elsewhere in Scotland.

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Welcoming the development, Pip Tabor, Manager of the Southern Uplands Partnership, a key project partner said: “It’s fantastic to see the approach being embraced by estates like Burncastle, who’ve truly taken the birds under their wings and gone above and beyond to help this iconic bird soar in the southern uplands once again.”

For the latest project news, or to donate to the charity, visit: www.goldeneaglessouthofscotland.co.uk