Isle of Wight’s white-tailed eagles go wandering: Read about their fascinating journeys

The white-tailed eagles have been keen to explore the country after being released on the Isle of Wight last summer. Find out who always comes back

White-tailed Eagle by Ainsley Bennett

The latest update from Forestry England on the white-tailed eagles, released on the Isle of Wight as juveniles last summer, reveals the extent of their journeys around the UK.

The eagles’ spread across the UK was partly due to the warm sunny weather and some strong winds, says Steve Egerton-Read, Forestry England.

Following their progress
As those who have been following the progress of the eagles on the Isle of Wight will know, they have all been fitted with GPS trackers, allowing the team to monitor their every move.

As well as the trackers, all birds were fitted with black and white leg rings – each with a four digit code starting with G – allowing the team to identify them. Steve Egerton-Read and Tim Mackrill from The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation share the latest below.

Map of the journeys of the Isle of Wight's white-tailed eagles

Bird G3-93: Male

Bird G3-93, a male from Mull, is now famous in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire but seldom seen. He’s been travelling since mid-March and journeyed more than 1,000 kilometres this spring! Initially he headed west towards Slimbridge Wetland Centre, then north to Staffordshire before flying onto the North York Moors. After just over a week in North Yorkshire, he was on the move again heading south via the Peak District National Park to Northamptonshire, passing close to where he spent the winter. He then stayed a few days in East Anglia before returning to the Peaks and the North York Moors.

G3-18: Female

G3-93 isn’t the only young eagle on the move, the rest of his cohort have all made significant journeys. Bird G3-18, a female, also left the Isle of Wight in mid-March making a series of flights around the west country from her new base in Wiltshire. She then made a direct flight, joining G3-93 on the journey to the North York Moors, where she seems settled for now. 

Bird G3-24: Female

Bird G3-24, the last of the group to leave the Island, was seen several times on her six day journey to eastern England. She took just a couple of days to reach the coast of Norfolk, but flew four days against the wind to return to the Isle of Wight.

G2-74: Male

Perhaps most interesting of all is bird G2-74, who spent much of the winter with G3-24, his female companion. Both birds have been busy learning and developing new skills since returning to the Isle of Wight.

They have become quite adept at catching grey mullet along the coastline. Fish is by far their preferred meal and the Solent waters provide a rich source of this food. G2-74 has made several flights from the Isle of Wight, but choosing not to settle away from the Island.

A couple of short flights over Hampshire and West Sussex and back home are not too surprising, since the Isle of Wight is in view from soaring height. Remarkably he made two long return flights, one around southeast England and another over the southwest. These flights really demonstrate that the Isle of Wight and the Solent coast is home to these juvenile eagles.

There is loads more info over on the blog post by Steve and Tim on the Forestry England Website, which includes details of continental visitors to England.

Image: © Ainsley Bennett Photography

Thursday, 21st May, 2020 8:36am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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3 Comments on "Isle of Wight’s white-tailed eagles go wandering: Read about their fascinating journeys"

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Marvellous and most interesting.


I’ve seen them flying over Yarmouth way a few times recently and they are amazing to see.

Angela Hewitt

Almost certain, due to flight wings, that one is pottering around Arreton, Rookely, Blackwater. Twice I have seen it by the tip. Once by Whippingham roundabout, three times around Wight Building Materials. It’s the size and splayed wing ends (don’t know scientific name – but does it matter?) that are the best identifier.