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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 11:42 GMT
Appeal made to eagle-eyed public
Valiant the eagle
RSPB is concerned Valiant may feed on illegally poisoned carrion
Eagle-eyed members of the NI public are being asked to be on the look-out for a visiting bird of prey.

Scottish visitor Valiant, a young white tailed sea eagle, was first spotted in Antrim over Christmas.

Dave Sexton of the Scottish RSPB thinks he may still be in Northern Ireland.

It is believed the eagle was probably blown off course by severe weather conditions over Christmas.

The dark brown coloured eagle was spotted at the Altnahinch plateau in Antrim between 24-27 December.

The bird's tag is red with a white V and the full-sized male has a wing span of 6 ft.

If he has returned to Scotland he would probably have come back via Kintyre, Islay and Jura so if anyone has seen him en route please let the RSPB know
Dave Sexton
RSPB

The white tailed sea eagle was reintroduced to Scotland in 1975 and first bred in the wild in 1985 on the Isle of Mull.

Mr Sexton said: "Valiant was a bit of a late developer but he certainly went for it over the Christmas break.

"Although he was a long way from home, wandering is what young sea eagles do best and I'm sure that he would have found plenty of food, sustenance and shelter in his new temporary location, as well as new sights and sounds on his holiday jaunt."

He appealed for anyone who may have spotted the rare bird to contact the RSPB.

"If he has returned to Scotland he would probably have come back via Kintyre, Islay and Jura so if anyone has seen him en route, or any other wing tagged sea eagle, please let the RSPB know."

The society is concerned the eagle could feed on illegally poisoned carrion left out to kill foxes and vermin.

The white tailed sea eagle's prey includes sea birds, rabbits, hares and fish.




SEE ALSO:
Eagle lays first egg since 1912
11 May 05 |  Northern Ireland
Eagle flies high out of Belfast
06 Jul 04 |  Northern Ireland


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