Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 12:51 UK

Sea eagles are flown to Scotland

Sea eagle in flight (Iain Erskine /PA Wire)
The sea eagle was reintroduced to the west of Scotland in the 1980s

A flock of sea eagle chicks will be released into the wild to help them re-establish in eastern Scotland.

The eaglets are being flown from Norway as part of a reintroduction programme. They were successfully put back into the wild in the west during the 1980s.

The large birds of prey disappeared from Scotland's shores in Victorian times because of persecution.

The first chicks in this latest drive arrived last year and a second batch will arrive from Norway on Friday.

They will be taken to a secret location before being released.

Environment Minister Mike Russell visited the birds in their hometown of Alesund, north west of Oslo, before they began their trip to Scotland.

He will officially greet the young birds when they arrive in Edinburgh on Friday.

Mr Russell said: "The group of eaglets I met are still relatively small but will quickly grow into huge birds - even bigger than a golden eagle.

"They will bolster the eastern population and further aid our drive to ensure that the sight of a sea eagle soaring over our woods and waterways becomes an increasingly common sight."

The East of Scotland Sea Eagle reintroduction programme is being run by Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and the RSPB.

It is a five-year initiative and will see up to 20 chicks being brought to Scotland each year.

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