Natural Research partnered with Tayside Raptor Study Group and Atholl Estates to help set up a video camera at a golden eagle nest site. Located in Perthshire, Atholl Estates sit at the foot of the Cairngorms, stretching across 145,000 acres from Dunkeld in the south to beyond Blair Atholl in the north. Thanks to sensitive management by their staff, Atholl Estates is home to several breeding raptor species, and estate staff have worked closely with members of Tayside Raptor Study Group to ensure the birds remain protected and secure.
By setting up a remote video camera at the eagle nest, live images can be relayed to a visitor centre at Blair Castle to be viewed by the public without disturbing or compromising the safety of the eagles. The live pictures will be shown on a TV monitor and used as part of the Atholl Estates free public education programme for local school groups and members of the public alike.
The eagle camera team from Atholl Estates (AE) and Tayside
Raptor Study Group (TRSG). L-R: Wendy Mattingley (TRSG),
David Greer (AE), Roger Hayward (TRSG),
Dominic Morrogh-Bernard (AE).
This project has received generous financial support from the Cairngorms National Park Authority's Community Investment Programme (CIP). Partners in the CIP include Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Aberdeenshire Council, Angus Council and Cairngorms LEADER+.
The nest camera was installed prior to the on-set of the 2008 breeding season to prevent disturbance to the eagle pair. Two eggs were laid and incubated to full term but failed to hatch; it is thought that poor weather conditions were the cause of failure, as the female was observed on the nest in temperatures of minus 14°C, with snow covering her back. Video footage during the incubation period was relayed to TV monitors at Blair Castle and the Atholl Estate Ranger Station in Blair Atholl. Since then the eagles have not nested and the camera was not deployed.
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Photos: Top: M.McGrady Bottom: R. Tingay