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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 19:39 GMT
Golden eagle symbol fails to fly
Golden Eagle
MSPs decided to take no action over the proposal
MSPs have thrown out a proposal to have the golden eagle formally declared the national bird of Scotland.

Members of Holyrood's Culture Committee have decided to take no further action on a petition from the RSPB.

Instead they are to write to Scottish Executive ministers to seek clarification on the procedure by which national symbols are adopted.

MSPs on the committee also questioned whether there was enough public backing to warrant the move.

International image

The proposal was put forward by James Reynolds, when he was environment correspondent at The Scotsman newspaper.

Mr Reynolds is now with the bird protection body RSPB Scotland but the newspaper has continued to support the move.

He told MSPs in October that more than 80 countries had a bird as their national symbol and the golden eagle was already an unofficial emblem of Scotland.

The executive told the committee the eagle move would "certainly do no harm" but said it was unclear whether it would add much to Scotland's international image.

It is already understood that the golden eagle is one of our iconic birds
Shona Baird
Scottish Greens

At Tuesday's committee meeting, Karen Gillon, Labour MSP for Clydesdale, pointed to uncertainty over the procedure for declaring a national symbol.

"I don't think us or the executive or anybody else has gone through that process," she said.

"I think we should send this to the executive asking them to look at establishing such criteria for use in a future parliament."

Deputy Tory leader Murdo Fraser said: "For us to rush ahead with this without gathering further evidence of public support would be unwise."

Real recognition

Christine May, Labour MSP for Central Fife, said the question of whether Scotland should have a national bird was not considered by the public to be a matter on which it was worth spending parliamentary time.

The sole support for the eagle move came from Shiona Baird, Green co-convener.

She said: "It is already understood that the golden eagle is one of our iconic birds.

"VisitScotland are already using the bird as part of their marketing strategy, and there's a real recognition of the importance of wildlife tourism.

"I think we would be missing a trick if we did not take on board this petition and identify the golden eagle as the symbol bird for Scotland."


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SEE ALSO
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Eagle eyed up as national bird
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26 May 04 |  Scotland
Rare eagle killed by 'poison'
06 May 02 |  Scotland

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