September 8, 2008

Golden Eagles Hatch at Wind Farm Site

By Jenny Haworth

TWO golden eagle chicks have been born next to a 46-turbine wind farm. Nicknamed Ben and Turk, the chicks hatched in a nesting site next to the Beinnan Tuirc wind farm in Argyll.

They were the first to be born at the spot for more than a decade and ScottishPower Renewables says it shows that its GBP 2 million conservation area has been a success. At 1,215 hectares, the wind farm site has the largest conservation project of its kind for golden eagles in the UK.

David Macarthur, ecologist for ScottishPower Renewables, said: "The loss of open foraging areas in west Scotland has had a devastating effect on the golden eagle population in recent times, so we are delighted with the success of our habitat restoration project."

He said 450 hectares of conifer plantation was cleared to make way for the return of traditional heather moorland, which encouraged the resurgence of red grouse - a key source of prey for the eagles. Heather, blaeberry and cotton grass now all thrive in the conservation area.

Zoe Clelland, RSPB Scotland's senior conservation officer for the region, said she welcomes the investment of time, effort and money that has been put into the restoration of the area.

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