Rare Eagle Abandons Estonian Homeland, Solitary Females

Greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) Photo: Wikimedia Commons
4/27/2011 12:11 PM
Category: Environment

To the disappointment of Estonian researchers, Tõnn, a young greater spotted eagle whose exciting travels have been tracked via GPS by bird enthusiasts across Europe, seems to prefer life in Sweden over his birthplace in Estonia.

Eagle experts had hoped that the endangered bird - with only 20 known couples, it is the rarest and least reserached eagle in Europe - would finally settle down in Estonia this year, wrote Eesti Päevaleht.

Greater spotted eagles are not native to Sweden, and solitary females in Estonia are being forced to mate with the more numerous lesser spotted eagle, leaving fewer purebreds.

Born in Lääne County in 2008, Tõnn's summertime migration takes him to El Hondo national park, in the Spanish Mediterranean. Tõnn took off to his spring nesting area at the end of March, flying sometimes 300 kilometers per day, to arrive in southern Estonia on April 13. But after a few days in Estonia, the young bachelor kept going, as in previous springs, toward St. Peterburg, to Finland, to northern Sweden, and eventually to his new adopted home, Östersund, in central Sweden.

Estonian bird enthusiasts were, nevertheless, content to see that Tõnn bothered to make a stop in Estonia, after cutting straight through Denmark when flying south last winter. Tõnn can be tracked here.


Ott Tammik

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