The Lake District's lonesome golden eagle is seen displaying to attract mate

Golden eagle seeks mate in the Lake District

Golden eagle seeks mate in the Lake District

First published in News
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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

ENGLAND’S only golden eagle has started displaying in a Lake District valley to attract a mate.

A resident of Haweswater since 2002, the male bird of prey has been flying solo since 2004 when its female partner died.

But it has now been spotted ‘dancing’ in order to attract a new partner.

Dave Shackleton, RSPB Warden at Haweswater, said: “We saw him a couple of days ago, it’s fantastic.

“He was sky dancing. He launched himself from a high perch in the valley and then did steep dives followed by deep descents.”

He added that while there were about 450 pairs of golden eagles in Scotland, there was only half a pair in England, and that is the Cumbrian bird.

“We should be pretty proud, it’s fantastic,” he said.

Golden eagles first started breeding in the Lake District in 1969, and this eagle, which nests at the head of the lake, is the third male to take over the territory.

Now the RSPB is awaiting the next female mate for the bird, which is believed to be about 17 years old.

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Mr Shackleton continued: “They can reach about 30, and his last mate was about 20 years old when she died.

“Haweswater is his home range, and they have a territory which they stay on all their lives.”

The bird is thought to have orginally come from Scotland, where eagles enjoy the mountainous terrain that the Highlands offer.

However, Mr Shackleton added that one of the main problems in the Highlands was persecution by poisoning or shooting, which was not always aimed at the eagle.

As part of their work closer to home, the RSPB mans a view-point in the summer and tries to keep the place quiet of visitors so as not to scare the rare bird away.

It is also heavily involved in habitat management.

“It’s key for us to get them back breeding, to get them from Scotland and then they might stay here,” added Mr Shackleton.

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