In late August 2012, two young eagles were spotted on an island in Glengarriff Harbour. In early 2013 this first pair, Green D and Blue J, built a nest but did not lay. This wasn’t unexpected as white-tailed eagles usually don’t breed until 4 or 5 years of age and initial breeding attempts often fail.
Around New Year 2014, Blue J disappeared, presumed dead. But almost immediately a new male, Blue W, arrived and paired up with the female. They successfully hatched a chick in 2014 but unfortunately it died at about 2 weeks old during a period of very bad weather.
In 2015, all looked to be going well and their single chick was wing-tagged at about 9 weeks old (pictured centre right). Very sadly, he died about a week later, the parents staying with him for nearly two days until Allan Mee (White-tailed Eagle Project Manager) climbed up to the nest to retrieve the body. The post mortem revealed that he had choked on a
clump of corvid tail feathers.
In 2016, the pair once again raised a single male chick. He was a little slow to develop but successfully fledged at 14 weeks old.He spent a few months around the nest area, being fed by his parents, until becoming independent and leaving the area in November 2016. Eddie spent much of his time in Co Kerry with sightings from the beaches of the Iveragh and Dingle Peninsulas, including a trip to the Blasket Islands. Unfortunately, Eddie was found dead on the Dingle Peninsula in spring 2018. The cause of death was not established.
In 2017, the pair were unlucky again when their chicks died at about 3 weeks old during bad weather.
In 2018, two unpaired females (P and & 7 dot) set up home a few kilometres away and built a nest. The male W mated with at least one of them and helped incubate eggs in his nest on Garnish Island and at the new nest. Trying to keep two nests going was always a tough ask and, while a chick hatched at one nest, both nests ultimately failed.
In 2019, one of these two new females P ousted the original female D from the Garnish territory and laid eggs. Unfortunately, the severe Storm Hannah hit within days of the chick hatching and it died. Storm Hannah had a huge impact on the Irish eagle population in 2019, with only one pair in the country successfully fledging a chick.
2020? Talons crossed!
To see a livestream of the nest and video clips click HERE.