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Displaying items by tag: Conall
Tuesday, 03 November 2009 07:54

GE Conall

Conall, a male Golden Eagle chick, was one of two wild bred chicks hatched and reared by released Golden Eagles in Glenveagh National Park in 2009. A male Golden Eagle, Blue 3, collected from the Isle of Skye in 2002 established a territory in Glenveagh in the spring of 2006 and was joined by a female, Yellow Diagonal Bar, collected from Assyant, Sutherland in 2001. They bred in 2007 and reared one chick, but failed to breed in 2008.

This pair laid two eggs, again in Glenveagh, in early March 2009. The first egg hatched in late April 2009 and the chick, a male, was called Conall. The second egg hatched 2-3 days later and the second chick was also a male. We removed the second chick after 4 days and reared it for several weeks with a falconer in an effort to ensure both chicks fledged. Over 90% of second/younger Golden Eagle chicks die in the nest in Scottish Golden Eagle sites, as happened in Glenveagh in 2007.

Conall stayed in the nest throughout the remainder of April, May and June until fledging in early July. The nest was on a well sheltered ledge. However during a particularly cold and wet period in mid May, the adult female was seen to stand over Conall, which was sitting in the nest, as wind driven heavy rain blew horizontally onto the nest. Conall was fed a variety of prey, including Hares, Badger Cubs, a Fox Cub and a single grouse. During its initial weeks the adults birds were usually to be found on the nest. But toward the end of the chick stage the adults only visited the nest briefly 3-4 times a day though they were often noted overlooking the eyrie from a distance.

Conall grew steadily throughout the 76 days before it fledged. On the 18th June Conall and its younger sibling were fitted with wing tags. A blue tag was put on the left wing and a red tag on the right wing. Conall has a number O in the middle of each tag. It was also fitted with a satellite tag, made by Microwave Telemetry. (Its younger sibling has a number 1, i.e. Blue Red 1 is its individual identification).

Conall left the eyrie in early July. It spent a day or two below the nest before moving uphill to sit and await food from the incoming adult eagles. Over the next few weeks Conall began to build up its flying ability. By early August it was able to soar briefly as it built up its own wing muscles and flying abilities. It younger sibling was usually in nearby attendance. We have had excellent satellite coverage of Conall's movements since then (July to October) but we decided against placing them on the Website, because they could lead to the discovery of the nearby nest and thereby lead to the disturbance of future breeding attempts.

Rather than identifying this Donegal bred Golden Eagle chick as Blue/Red O we decided to call him Conall. This is the first Donegal bred Golden Eagle chick to be fitted with a satellite transmitter. The old Irish name for County Donegal is Tír Chonaill (the land of Conall) ? so Conall seems an appropriate name for a Donegal male eagle. Check out this website regularly to find out his latest exciting movements, as Conall begins to explore the Hills of Donegal and beyond.

Published in Tagged birds