After eight months in the field we retrieved the camera traps we set up to monitor the artificial eagle nest platforms constructed back in October last year. Though we had intended to monitor the nests for a full year, a pesky red squirrel damaged one of the cameras and we decided to bring them in. We are delighted to report back that an array of other wildlife found our nest attractive and paid us a visit, which we'd like to share with you.
First year expectations
We had no expectations that eagles would occupy the nests within the first year, as it usually takes a number of years before any birds move in, but we wanted to see whether they would at least visit the nests. We were also interested to know what other species would check out our newly constructed nests.
Who stopped by the nest?
Unsurprisingly we got a lot of passerines, great tits, dunnocks, and meadow pipits. Scottish crossbills, an endemic species to the Scottish pinewoods, were among the most frequent visitors, who were often seen foraging among the moss and soil that the nests were constructed out of. Another highlight was a kestrel, that used the nest as a perch. We would also have been happy about seeing the red squirrel checking out the nest, had it not chewed through the flash on the camera.
The cameras have been brought in from the field and the team at Alladale will now be monitoring the nests from a distance, regularly checking on them to see if one year a pair of adult eagles decides it’s the perfect place to raise their young.