Tiroran Community Forest is proud to provide a home for a pair of nesting white-tailed eagles.
The male is known as Fingal and he was part of the second phase of reintroducing this eagle to Scotland. He hatched in Norway in 1997 and was released in Wester Ross that same year. After 3-4 years of exploring Scotland he settled on Mull and paired up with his new mate, a female known as Iona. She is a wild, Scottish-hatched bird from Skye in 1998 and this pair have now been together and breeding since 2002/3. Fingal used to have blue wing tags with the number 9 (Blue 9) and Iona had green wing tags and the letter T (Green T). Over the years these wing tags have come off but it’s possible both birds still have tiny remnants which might be visible on the underwing at the shoulder joint.
Fingal and Iona have had mixed fortunes with their breeding success but have still raised many chicks to fledging. Some of these have gone on to maturity and are now helping the sea eagle population reclaim its former haunts in other parts of Scotland. One of their chicks is now part of a breeding pair on Islay whilst another one is nesting in Sutherland. Sadly some chicks haven’t survived. On a few occasions, chicks have fallen from the nest, others have died from infections and on their first nesting attempt in 2003, their eggs fell through the bottom of the nest and broke.
In some years when their nest has been visible, we have teamed up with the award winning, five star wildlife watching experience, Mull Eagle Watch to show our visitors the family life of sea eagles at their nest. This also helped South West Mull and Iona Development to raise some funds for local projects.
The eagles have featured many times in films and on TV including:
- BBC’s ‘Hebrides – Isles on the Edge’ with Ewan MacGregor
- ‘Springwatch’ with Iolo Williams
- ‘Eagle Island’ with Gordon Buchanan
- ITV’s ‘Ray Mears Wild Britain’
In 2019, Fingal and Iona raised a single chick and look set to remain a vital part of our community forest’s ecology and spirit.
Follow Mull Eagle Watch on Twitter @MullEagleWatch for updates
Thanks to David Sexton, Mull RSPB Officer for the information.
Thanks to John Taylor (Forestry & Land Scotland), Justin Grant, Lewis Pate, Rachel Moore, Meryl Varty and Rhian Evans for use of photos of Fingal & Iona’s chick’s over the years.