After 27 months away and 17,000km travelled the eagle has finally landed
THE Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation has released an update on the whereabouts of one of the Isle of Wight released white-tailed eagles - which finally returned back to where it all began.
During the first four years of the project, the young eagles followed a fairly predictable pattern, dispersing widely during their early years but moving back towards the Island as they approach breeding age.
The latest bird to return to the Island after a prolonged period away is 2020 male, G463, who has learnt to adapt to living with only one foot – following an unexplained injury over a year ago.
He was the first eagle to cross the English Channel and spent seven months in Europe between April and November 2021.
When he returned, he spent time in East Anglia, Suffolk and Somerset, making no attempt to return to the Island.
On April 3 last year, he made a second Channel, returning to many of the locations he had visited the previous summer and also made a short excursion into Sweden.
Returning to the UK on September 20, 2022, he initially headed to his favoured area in Norfolk, where he remained until the end of October.
He then made his way slowly southwest and spent six weeks in Somerset before heading east to Poole Harbour on Boxing Day.
Finally, on January 9, he returned to the Island for the first time since October 13, 2020.
During his 27-month period away – the longest of any of the released eagles so far – he flew over 17,000km and visited seven different countries.
On his first night back on the Island, G463 roosted close to the release area, but like other returning eagles, he had the Island’s resident birds, G274 and G324, to contend with.
On the morning of the 11th, G463 was seen off by G274, and after spending two further nights on the Island away from the resident male’s core territory, G463 headed back across the Solent.
He then travelled to Poole Harbour and spent the day with 2020 female G466, who returned to the South Coast in early October after spending last summer in northern Scotland and has been another regular in the area.
A spokesperson said: “With both birds now in their fourth calendar year, they are reaching the age where we might expect them to pair up and establish a territory, and so it is interesting to see what happens over the coming weeks.
“We will be paying particular attention to G463 to understand better how he has adapted to living with only one foot.
“The fact that G463 has survived for more than a year is certainly encouraging.”