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    Bird Watching in Donegal

    Bird Watching

    Golden Eagles - The Golden Eagle was once a common site over the mountains and coastal plains of Ireland but became extinct in 1912, due largely to the effects of human persecution. This makes Ireland the only country where Golden Eagles have become extinct in recent times.

    As early as 1989, members of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Glenveagh National Park began to study the feasibility of reintroducing golden Eagles to Ireland. They examined the availability of suitable live prey and carrion for Golden Eagles in Co. Donegal and in 1995 the Irish Raptor Study Group joined that effort.

    The project has been co-ordinated by The Irish Raptor Study Group and the Curlew Trust though the management is left to a steering group which also contains members from NPWS, The Heritage Council, Irish Farmers Association and the North West Tourism Authority.

    After careful planning the actual reintroduction of Golden Eagle Chicks to Ireland began in 2001 with the successful delivery of 6 birds collected under licence from nests in Scotland. In 2005 some 42 birds have now been released from Glenveagh with reported sightings from as far away as the Gap of Dungloe, Co. Kerry! Golden Eagles do not breed until they are at least five or six years of age and it is hoped that six to eight pairs may be breeding in Donegal.

    The best time of year to see Golden Eagles in the park is during the short winter days when there is a good possibility of seeing recently released birds. Though clearly visible to the naked eye, scanning the skyline with the aid of binoculars offers the best chance of spotting a soaring eagle.

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