Eagles soar over Connemara again – after an absence of 100 yearsJuly 12, 2012 - 7:30am
By Máirtín Ó Catháin
They are magnificent birds and they have returned to Connemara – after 100 years. A pair of white tailed eagles has made the sweeping expanse of mountains and coastline between Roundstone and Ballyconneely their home – temporarily at least.
If the eagles decide to stay and have a family they could put added life into tourism in Connemara as well. They have come west again as a result of a programme started five years ago to restore the majestic species to Ireland.
However, the National Parks and Wildlife Service have kept quiet about the descent of the eagles on Connemara. The NPWS may be biding time to see if the eagles will nest; they may also be concerned about the safety of the birds following recent incidents in which eagles were found dead in County Donegal and County Mayo.
The eagle found near Lough Beltra in Co Mayo had a high level of poison in its body and also had pellet wounds.
The eagles that have come to Connemara may have made their way northwards from Kerry. A programme to restore eagles to Ireland was started up in the National Park in Killarney in 2007. So far up to 100 eagles have been released in Killarney and let off to fend for themselves in nature’s way.
The birds were fitted with electronic devices when the programme began so that their movement can be traced. The programme is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Golden Eagle Trust of Ireland
The white tailed eagles are a magnificent sight with a wingspan of 3 metres or 10 feet when they go into flight. White tailed eagles can be about 3 feet in length and over 15 pounds in weight. Sources in the NPWS say it is difficult to spot them in the large area of mountain and seashore in west Connemara.
Read more in today’s Connacht Tribune