Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Sea eagles thriving on Isle of Mull

Sea Eagle - Iain Erskine
Mull Eagle Watch is celebrating 20 years on Mull

Wild-bred sea eagles are thriving on Mull with 20 pairs now nesting on the small Scottish island, it has emerged.

The Mull Eagle Watch Partnership said 10 chicks had fledged from seven nests during last year's breeding season.

It also said 6,000 people a year were visiting the island to see the eagles, which had boosted the local economy by £2m.

The programme is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Scotland and 10 years of success on Mull.

Many people who visit Mull to see the eagles visit a viewing hide on Forestry Commission land Loch Frisa.

'Funding jigsaw'

Half of the income raised by the hide - run by the Mull Eagle Watch partnership - is put straight back into the community.

James Hilder, chief executive of the Mull & Iona Community Trust, said: "Mull Eagle Watch has given a great boost to the communities of Mull & Iona, as it allows the trust to distribute thousands of pounds to local youth groups, sports clubs, societies as well as contributing to other environmental and educational initiatives locally.

"We see the funds generated by the hide as a key piece in the funding jigsaw for our many voluntary groups and I look forward to the next 10 years."

The Mull Eagle Watch partnership comprises Forestry Commission Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Mull & Iona Community Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Strathclyde Police.

Overall in Scotland, 36 chicks successfully fledged from 46 pairs of white-tailed eagles in 2009.

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