A male sea eagle has successfully raised chicks from two different nests in East Scotland for the first time ever in Scotland.
The eight year old male sea eagle, known as Turquoise Z, has been travelling between Angus and Fife visiting two nests, more than 28 miles apart, and raising chicks with two different females. This unusual behaviour, known as polygamy, is rarely recorded in sea eagles (also known as white-tailed eagles - the UK's laregst bird of prey). It has been seen on the west coast of Scotland on a handful of occasions but these nests were just a few miles apart and the demands of providing enough food for both nests always resulted in failure.
Remarkably, despite the vast distance between the two nests on the east coast of Scotland, there has been a successful outcome. At the nest in Fife, Turquoise Z has raised a female chick tagged Blue X with his usual partner and he has also managed to raise another female chick tagged Blue V at the nest in Angus with a new female.
Turquoise Z was released in 2009 as part of the East Scotland reintroduction, and has been breeding in a Forest Enterprise Scotland Woodland in Fife since 2013 with a female released in the same year, known as Turquoise 1. In April, RSPB Scotland staff were surprised to spot Turquoise Z at a nest site in Angus, sharing the incubation of eggs with another female sea eagle, a six year old bird known as Red Z. They originally thought that he had abandoned his mate in Fife for a new younger female in the Angus glens. However, Turquoise Z continued to visit the Fife nest and staff and volunteers watched in astoundment as he incubated eggs and provided food at both nests. Over the breeding season, he was seen leaving the Fife nest and arriving at the Angus nest a full 90 minutes later - a long journey for this remarkable bird, who still had to take shifts incubating, provide food for both females and feed himself.
Both sea eagle chicks have now taken their first flight from the nests and will soon be hunting for themselves. They have been fitted with wing tags and satellite transmitters so that their movements can be followed over the coming months as they leave their parents’ territories and start to explore Scotland.
For more information on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the work that hey carry out in Scotland and elsewhere visit www.rspb.org.uk