Our Beautiful World

White tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla  

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Photo © Jørgen Scheel

The White-tailed Eagle is distributed in parts of northern, eastern and central Europe, across Siberia and into China
as well as having populations in Iceland and Greenland.

Population trends are upwards and the species has recently been upgraded from "Near Threatened" to "Least Concern".
Details of European populations are available at Birdlife International.

It has a wide and varied diet ranging from fish to carrion to birds up to the size of geese and swans.

© www.ecosystema.ru/  
The Eagle's diet is varied, including fish, birds, carrion and, occasionally, small mammals. Many birds live almost wholly as scavengers, regularly pirating food from otters and other birds, but this eagle can be a powerful hunter, as well. Locally, this species may compete fiercely with Golden Eagles over the rabbits and hares either eagle may catch. The daily food requirement is in the region of 500-600 g.[7] Although a less active hunter than the Golden Eagle, and usually losing out to them in direct competition for a single food item, they can exist at higher population densities and out-compete Golden Eagles because of their longer gut and more efficient digestive system, being able to live better with less food.[8]

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A juvenile (right) being mobbed by a pair of buzzards over the Isle of CannaWhite-tailed Eagles are sexually mature at four or five years of age. They pair for life, though if one dies replacement can occur quickly. A bond is formed when a permanent home range is chosen. They have a characteristic aerial courtship display which culminates in the pair locking claws mid-air and whirling earthwards in series of spectacular cartwheels. White-tailed Eagles are much more vocal than Golden Eagles, particularly during the breeding season and especially the male when near the eyrie. Calls can sometimes take on the form of a duet between the pair.

The nest is a huge edifice of sticks in a tree or on a coastal cliff. Being faithful to their territories, once they breed, nests are often reused, sometimes for decades by successive generations of birds; one nest in Iceland has been in use for over 150 years.[3] In Scandinavia, trees have been known to collapse under the weight of enormous, long established nests.

The territory of the White-tailed Eagle ranges between 30–70 km², normally in sheltered coastal locations. Sometimes they are found in-land by lakes and along river systems. The territory of the White-tailed Eagles can overlap with the territory of the Golden Eagle, though competition between the two species is limited. Golden Eagles prefer mountains and moorland, while the White-tailed Eagle prefers the coast and the sea.

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The following pictures are from Sunnmøreposten's web-camera .

20080317-1040 local time

20080317-1045 local time

20080317-1345 local time

20080318-0728 local time

20080323-1315 local time

20080324- 0718 local time

20080324-1340 local time - you can see it in there....

20080326-1310 local time - Haven't seen both for a couple of days, but here they are together again.

2008041-0806 local time. It's still there.....

ARKive video - White-tailed eagle - overview
White-tailed eagle - overview
BBC Natural History Unit

ARKive video - Fledgling white-tailed eagle exercising wings, takes maiden flight
Fledgling white-tailed eagle exercising wings, takes maiden flight
The RSPB Film Collection

Wind farm causes eagle deaths

Wind turbines have caused a number of deaths of Europe's largest eagle species, on isolated islands off the Norwegian coast.

The discovery of four dead White-tailed Eagles, and the failure of almost 30 others to return to nesting sites within the wind farm area, has increased fears that wind farms elsewhere could take a similar toll on native and migrating wild birds.

The White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla is found in significant numbers on Smøla, a set of islands about ten kilometres off the north-west Norwegian coast. The island is listed by BirdLife as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it holds one of the
highest breeding densities of the species in the world.

The four dead birds were found between August and December 2005. Two had been sliced in half, apparently by a turbine blade. Post mortems blamed multiple trauma for the birds' deaths, caused by a heavy blow. Much of the wind park is remote and rarely visited and it is possible that other deaths have gone undetected.

The 68-turbine Smøla wind farm was built between 2001 and 2005. The Norwegian government ignored advice based on an environmental assessment, warning against the development because of the danger it posed to White-tailed Eagles. BirdLife took the case to the Bern Convention but the decision was not overturned.

Research by NOF-BirdLife Norway’s National White-tailed Eagle project, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), will now be stepped-up to include regular checks for casualties throughout the wind park,
and monitoring of this spring's breeding activity.

Conservationists are yet to draw firm conclusions from their initial monitoring because breeding numbers of eagles often vary
and in 2004 and 2005, construction activity for the second part of the wind park was especially intense.

"Breeding results on Smøla have been strikingly poor compared with the 30 years before the wind farm was built, both on the
site itself and the remainder of the island." —Alv Ottar Folkestad, NOF (BirdLife in Norway)

Alv Ottar Folkestad, project leader of NOF’s National White tailed Eagle project for more than 30 years said, "We are only
half way through the research, yet despite their site-faithfulness, we are not confident that White-tailed Eagles will adapt to the turbines and return to the wind park area. As older birds die, we do not know if new birds will occupy nest sites within the
wind farm."

BirdLife supports the generation of wind and other renewable energies to help tackle climate change but these interim research results have underlined the dangers of wind parks placed near sites that birds instinctively seek.

The dead adult female on this picture was No. 7 killed in the Smøla wind-farm.
Photo © Espen Lie Dahl

Wind farm 'hits eagle numbers'
Friday, 23 June 2006
The white-tailed eagle is one of Europe's largest birds of prey
Wind farm turbine blades are killing a key population of Europe's largest bird of prey, UK wildlife campaigners warn.
The RSPB says nine white-tailed eagles have been killed on the Smola islands off the Norwegian coast in 10 months,
including all of last year's chicks.

Chick numbers at the species' former stronghold have plummeted since the wind farm was built, with breeding pairs at the site down from 19 to one. Scientists fear wind farms planned elsewhere could also harm birds. And there are fears Britain's small population of the birds could be adversely affected.

The number of chicks born each year at the site has fallen from at least 10 to three last year, with births outside the borders
of the site falling too. The impact of wind farms has long been a concern or ornithologists Only one chick is expected to
fledge from the site this year.

Smola, a set of islands 10km (six miles) off the north-west coast of Norway, was designated an Important Bird Area by
Birdlife International in 1989 because it had one of the highest densities of white-tailed eagles in the world.

Scientists now fear wind farms planned for the rest of Norway could have a similar impact on the birds.
BBC News

Killed after collision with windmill, Smøla vindpark April 28. 2006.
Photo: © Espen Lie Dahl

Altamont Pass is the most lethal wind farm in North America for raptors

photo by BioResource Consultants
Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) kill more birds of prey than any other wind facility in
North America, due to their location on a major bird migratory route in an area with high concentrations of raptors,
including the highest density of breeding golden eagles in the world. Research by raptor experts for the California Energy Commission (CEC) indicates that each year, Altamont Pass wind turbines kill an estimated 881 to 1,300 birds of prey,
including more than 75 golden eagles, several hundred red-tailed hawks, several hundred burrowing owls, and hundreds of additional raptors including American kestrels, great horned owls, ferruginous hawks, and barn owls.
These kills of over 40 different bird species are in violation of federal and state wildlife protection laws such as the Bald Eagle
and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and several California Fish and Game Code provisions.


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