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Thursday, 25 March 2010

WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLES continue to increase and expand their range in Holland

In 2006 White-tailed Sea Eagles started to breed in The Netherlands (in the Oostvaardersplassen near Lelystad). This pair bred successfully at the same location from 2006 to 2009. The same pair is present again this year, whilst other pairs are present at a few other locations too. Mating has been seen in the Lauwersmeer area, and whilst 3 birds are still present in Biesboschand, news was forthcoming today that there is a breeding attempt at Zwartemeer north of Zwolle.

It is likely that the White-tailed Eagle will increase rapidly in The Netherlands during the years to come. A rapid increase was also noticed in Denmark, after the first breeding took place in 1995. This population increased to 22 pairs in 2008. There is a similar situation in the western states of Germany: in Schleswig-Holstein 7 pairs in 1990 increasing to 63 pairs in 2009, in Niedersachsen 0 pairs in 1990 and 22 in 2007. The total population in Germany increased from 127 in 1980 to an almost unbelievable number of 570 pairs in 2007 (information from several sources).

Despite the enormous increase in numbers and the rapidly expanding range there are still plans to reintroduce the White-tailed Sea Eagle into East Anglia! The nearest pairs in The Netherlands are now at a distance of about 230 kilometers (or 150 miles) from the East Anglian coast. This distance is exactly the same as the distance between the nearest pair in Germany and the place where the first pair bred in The Netherlands.

I sincerely hope that the natural range-expansion of the White-tailed Sea Eagle will not be disturbed and spoilt by the unnecessary and irresponsible reintroduction project in East Anglia. Hopefully this project will be cancelled soon. (contributed by Trinus Haitjema of Estonia)