Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 14, 2009
We have a lot to learn from the white tailed eagle — especially in regards to romance. Other than a fascinating mid-air acrobatic display, this cousin of the American bald eagle keeps it simple when it comes to mating. There’s no worry about vulnerable displays of emotion or the exhausting ritual of overlooking someone else’s bad habits.
According to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), love affairs among eagles occur naturally and easily: “The breeding season is characterised by frequent loud calling, especially by the male in the vicinity of the eyrie, sometimes taking the form of a duet between the pair.” From there, the lovebirds engage in “a characteristic aerial courtship display” in which they lock their claws together and whirl towards the earth in a series of spectacular cartwheels.
On top of that, the break-up rate for this bird is low. These creatures a mate for life. Sounds enviable… until you get the to the near extinction part.
For nearly 200 years, this white tailed eagle suffered persecution from the weapons of shepherds and gamekeepers, who feared for the safety of their livestock and gamebirds. Of course, it’s no shock to learn that the eagle was falsely accused. Feeding primarily on fish, birds, and carrion, the animal (despite its daunting 8-foot wingspan) presented no real threat to any flock.
But the damage was done regardless. In 1975, the white tailed eagle had to be reintroduced in Great Britain, following its near extinction in 1918.
The numbers remain low to this day, but hopes are high for restoring the beautiful white tailed eagle with plans to increase breeding in Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and other areas of Eastern Europe by relocating young eagles and baby chicks annually and monitoring them over a 5-year period.
Whether or not they’ll be able to induce the cartwheels isn’t known.