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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 17:46 GMT
Young sea eagles are 'doing well'
Sea eagle generic (Pic: Iain Erskine)
Many of the sea eagles are living around the Perthshire glens
Conservationists are preparing to bring another batch of sea eagle chicks into Scotland in the next stage of the programme to re-introduce them.

Fifteen young birds were released in the east of Scotland last August, with most said to be doing well.

Alve Ottar Folkestaad, the man who collected the chicks in Norway, has been in Perthshire to check their progress.

He revealed that another 20 birds would be brought over this year.

Out of the 15 sea eagles which arrived in August, 11 are still alive.

Claire Smith from the RSPB told BBC Scotland that that was in line with natural mortality and the surviving birds were thriving.

"They've been eating a lot of geese," she said.

"They're quite good at catching wild geese, also taking things like rabbits.

"They're also finding carrion very quickly - they're finding a dead deer or a dead sheep very quickly."

Mr Folkestaad agreed the chicks were progressing well.

He said: "It's going rather fine. There are some losses but the birds around here are obviously thriving.

They're a natural part of the biodiversity of Scotland that's missing, largely because of humans over previous generations
Duncan Orr-Ewing

"They're doing what they have to do at this part of their life - they have to learn the landscape and to choose.

"Here they have free choice searching for what they need at this time of their lives."

The birds are being monitored with a radio tracker and at the moment they are to be found in some of the Perthshire glens and also near Findhorn Bay.

Sea eagles were once widespread across Scotland but were persecuted to extinction by 1918.

The birds were reintroduced to the UK on the Isle of Rum, with eagles brought over from Norway every year from 1975 to 1983, then on Wester Ross from 1993 to 1998.

Duncan Orr-Ewing from the RSPB said: "They're a natural part of the biodiversity of Scotland that's missing, largely because of human over previous generations.

"So it's an entirely natural part of our biodiversity and also an extremely popular part of our biodiversity.

"The public are greatly enthused by sea eagles and we are delighted at the reaction that the birds have received."

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