Page last updated at 07:20 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 08:20 UK

Birds released in secret location


The moment when three birds of prey were released

A batch of white tailed sea eagles are being released from a secret location in Fife in a bid to reintroduce the species to the east of Scotland.

The 15 birds of prey were collected as chicks from nests in Norway and raised in special aviaries.

The birds will be radio tagged so their progress can be tracked.

It is the second year the East Scotland Sea Eagles (ESSE) project team have released the so-called "flying barn doors" into the wild.

ESSE is a five-year partnership project between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission.

The birds are being released three or four at a time over the course of the week.

Clair Smith, sea eagle project officer for RSPB Scotland, said she was keen to see how this year's birds integrate.

She said: "From the time these chicks were collected in Norway and brought over to Scotland in June I've watch them grow up and now they're raring to go.

"I'm really excited to see where they go and if they'll meet up with last year's birds."

The introduction of chicks from Norway to the east coast is part of the final phase of a programme to firmly establish a population of sea eagles right across Scotland.

Up to 20 young birds from Norway will be released each year for the next three years.

The reintroduction programme began on the island of Rum from 1975 to 1983 and then on Wester Ross from 1993 to 1998.

Breeding pairs have been established on territories as far south as the Argyll islands and west on the mainland in the Highland district of Lochaber.

In March, one of the east coast chicks released last year was found on Mull.

East coast eagle spotted on Mull
11 Mar 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Young sea eagles are 'doing well'
22 Feb 08 |  Tayside and Central
Sea eagle feared killed on estate
03 Dec 07 |  Tayside and Central

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