Building Eagle Nest Platforms

In the Scottish Highlands

For the winter 2019 rewilding impact project vote, our focus turned to the Scottish Highlands, where we work with Alladale Wilderness Reserve, a rewilding estate working to bring wilderness back to the Highlands. Here, our members were given the choice between radio tagging Atlantic salmon for monitoring purposes, translocating mountain hares and building eagle nest platforms. Our members voted for the mountain hare project, but we were able to secure funding for the eagle nest platforms and salmon tagging through our wonderful business partners Inlumi.

Project Timeline

February 2020

Conservation biologist Hannah joins our partners in the field for a site visit to identify the location for the white-tailed sea eagle nest.

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August 2020

After a delay in fieldwork due to COVID-19, a site visit takes place to identify the location for one of the nest platforms.

October 2020

The second nest site is identified. Construction of the two eagle nest platforms is completed and cameras are installed to monitor the activities at the site.

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Learn more about why we are building nest platforms for eagles

A History of Persecution

Historically, white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) and golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) could both be found patrolling the skies of Scotland. Around 100 years ago when white-tailed eagles were eradicated from Britain primarily through persecution due to its reputation of predating lambs. Golden eagles were also persecuted for predating lambs as well as economically valuable game birds until it was eradicated from England and Wales. Habitat loss and pesticide poisoning also played a role in the decline of these species. In the 1970s, reintroduction efforts began to return white-tailed eagles to Scotland using birds from Norway while golden eagle populations in Scotland have soured through. In 2019, a white-tailed sea eagle was spotted at Alladale Wilderness Reserve and stayed in the area for several weeks for the first time since their disappearance. A pair of golden eagles have already made the reserve their home.

A golden eagle flying over the carcass of a red deer stag with snow in the background
Golden eagles are regularly spotted on the reserve scavenging on red deer carcasses and 'grallochs' (offal)

Supporting Native Predators

In partnership with Alladale Wilderness Reserve and the Roy Dennis Foundation, Mossy Earth is funding the construction of artificial nest platforms to encourage these magnificent birds of prey to nest on the reserve and support the local population of these rare species. The project involves building 2 artificial nest platforms, each targeted towards a species. After identifying suitable areas of the reserve for the nests, construction will begin in time for breeding the following spring. Camera traps will installed on the platforms to monitor the activity at the nests and identify any species that visit the sites.

A red and white tape wraps around a tall scots pine. This Scots pine was chosen as the site of the white-tailed eagle nest platform
The Scots pine chosen as the site of the white-tailed eagle nest platform
Heart Image

the team behind the project

Team Member

Hannah Kirkland, Conservation Biologist at Mossy Earth

Team Member

Hannah with the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation crew

Sources & further reading

Peer Reviewed Research Section
  1. A Manifesto for Rewilding the World - George MonbiotExternal link
  2. Rewilding Success Stories - The GuardianExternal link
  3. Rewilding abandoned landscapes in Europe - Springer Link PublishingExternal link
  4. Comparative nest habitat characteristics of sympatric White‐tailed Haliaeetus albicilla and Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos in western Scotland - Taylor & Francis OnlineExternal linkIcon Peer Review
  5. Endangered birds to benefit from artificial nest building in Western Iberia - Rewilding EuropeExternal link