Sea eagles are a controversial subject of conversation in Scotland at the present time. While some are calling for these white-tailed eagles to be controlled and for numbers to be reduced, others reject this saying several hundred breeding pairs is no bad thing to aim for. Having been introduced from Norway, where they also faced persecution, conservationists see their return as a success story, as numbers are currently growing at between 8 and 10% each year.
Farmers and crofters often report that the sea eagles have a devastating impact on their sheep, killing large numbers of lambs. About 80 pairs of sea eagles exist on the West coast, and they have also begun to breed on the East coast. The farmers therefore believe the destruction of lambs can only increase as the sea eagle numbers do, and that if the sea eagles aren’t controlled they will eventually destroy the traditional Scottish farming industry. One Skye farmer said that the increase in sea eagles sounded the ‘death knell’ for sheep farming on his island and in the North West of Scotland.
On the opposing side, however, the RSPB for Scotland feel that already-dead lambs are targeted by the sea eagles and that it is very rare for a sea eagle to attack live lambs.
Previous sea eagle management schemes have now reached completion. But this does not appear to have been adequate to deal with the problem, according to representatives of the NFU in Scotland – they have generally fallen short of demanding a cull, but would certainly prefer some management measures to be taken.
Watching eagles and other rare birds on the West coast of Scotland can be a wonderful way to spend a week away. Why not check our list below for inspirational ideas on where to stay – our accommodation covers holiday cottages, farmhouses, bed and breakfasts and much more.