Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 14:05 UK

'Flying barn doors' land in Fife

Sea eagle
The birds of prey will be released into the wild after two months

A batch of white tailed eagle chicks have arrived in Scotland as part of an initiative to reintroduce the species to the east of the country.

The 20 chicks are the third group to be brought from Norway to take part in the five-year project.

They will stay at purpose-built aviaries at a secret location in Fife for two months until they have developed all their flight feathers.

The eagles are known as "flying barn doors" due to their 8ft wing span.

Britain's largest bird of prey disappeared from the UK in Victorian times as a result of human persecution.

The chicks will eventually be released into the wild on the east coast of Scotland under the project, which follows successful reintroductions in the west of Scotland since the 1970s.

'Spectacular birds'

The birds were being greeted by Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham on their arrival in Scotland.

She said: "This is the first opportunity for me, as minister for environment, to personally welcome sea eagles to Scotland and I am delighted to be involved in this exciting project."

Claire Smith, RSPB Scotland sea eagle project officer, said: "With two previous batches of chicks now well established in the east of Scotland, this project is helping to ensure that these spectacular birds become an increasingly common sight all over the country.

"We have had hundreds of reported sightings and good wishes from people who are thrilled when they see these enormous birds soaring in the sky, back where they belong after being eradicated by man."

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