National Save The Eagles Day - top tips to spot eagles in Scotland

National Save The Eagles Day

By Ross Dempster, General Manager and Kilted Ranger, Highland Safaris

With today being National Save the Eagles Day, we thought it would be the perfect time to share how to go about spotting one of Scotland’s most iconic birds.

Beautiful, powerful and graceful, the Eagle – in particular the Golden Eagle – tops many a wildlife watchers’ wishlist. And getting out into the wilds of Scotland offers the best chance of seeing one in all its glory.

Since 2003, there has been a 15% rise in the number of Golden Eagle pairs in Scotland, with that figure now sitting around 500. Spotting one takes time and patience though, so we’ve put together our top tips on how to go about it.

Keep your eyes peeled and with a bit of luck, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most majestic sights the great Scottish outdoors has to offer.

Majestic sights of the great Scottish outdoors

What to look for

The white tail Sea Eagle is the biggest bird of prey in the UK – they were once hunted out of existence, but were successfully reintroduced in the 1970s. Big and bold, they basically look like flying railway sleepers in the sky!

Golden Eagles are easy to confuse with the more common Buzzard. However, the Golden Eagle is bigger, will soar higher than a buzzard and holds its wings in a shallow V shape.

What are the differences between sea eagles and golden eagles?

The main difference is the size and wing shape; the sea eagle is bigger and the tips of its wings are “fingered” and can look quite square from a distance.

Where is the best place to eagle spot?

There is a greater chance of seeing sea eagles in the Inner Hebrides, but you can also spot them in Angus and Fife. Golden Eagles can be seen around Highland Safaris’ land, but we are a bit too far inland for the sea eagle (although they have been spotted in Perth). Top spots also include the west coast and islands, from Mull and Lochaber, and Skye to Lewis.

Where do eagles like to hang out?

Golden Eagles actually prefer open moorlands and hilltops, but the more remote the area, the more likely there are to be eagles - islands and remote glens are a good place to start. Golden Eagles are monogamous and may remain with their mate for life. They also tend to nest in the same place for generations (they like rocky outcrops and crags).

When is the best time of year to see eagles?

All year round. Look out for the looping, soaring and gliding flight arcs on the air currents. Eagles have traditional territories, which may also be used by offspring in years to come.

Have you been lucky enough to spot a golden eagle? Let us know if so using the hashtag #EagleEyed

Moorlands and hilltops

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