A BIRD of prey rarely found in the English countryside has turned up in Northumberland.
The white-tailed sea eagle, a bird only resident in the British isles in Scotland, was discovered in Bedlington on Friday night.
It was found under a tree by a member of the public in a weak and near death state, due to exhaustion from the lengthy flight and hunger, and unable to stand.
The person who discovered it is said to have got “the fright of his life” when it moved, having believed it was dead.
Police were informed and the eagle was taken to a woman at Killingworth who keeps snowy owls.
It was then transferred to Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre on Saturday morning, where it is being cared for. Cath Debbage, who helps at the Kielder centre, said last night: “You do not often find eagles landing in Bedlington. They do travel big distances but normally in Scotland.
“He might have been a bit dozy to get lost but we have nicknamed him Lucky because he has been very lucky to have ended up here where he could be picked up and we could look after him.”
White-taileds are the biggest breed found in Britain, although most commonly found in Norway, and larger than the golden eagle. The young male is one of 16 infants which was released by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) into a forest at Fife, in June.
The release was made as part of a programme to reintroduce the bird to the east coast of Scotland, following its return to the west of the country some years earlier.
The birds are known to travel long distances but rarely fly as far south as England.
It is thought the new arrival in Northumberland, said to be a couple of months old, had become lost.
There was a reported sighting of an eagle at Cramlington, in the middle of last week, which would in most cases have turned out to be a buzzard.
Now experts believe the sighting may have been the white-tailed bird of prey.
The eagle had a transmitter on its back which would have allowed the team at Fife to identify its exact location, once alerted to its approximate whereabouts by the public.
Centre staff have put Lucky in solitary confinement – away from the public who visit the attraction, believing that he may injure himself due to panicking if placed in an aviary.
Lucky will now remain at Kielder while he builds up his strength.
Staff from Fife will then travel down to collect him and return him to Scotland.
There are two other White-taileds at the centre, including Sima, the star of a film made by bosses at Vindolanda, who performs daily flights for the public.
Predator with distinctive white tail
THE white-tailed sea-eagle is a large bird of prey, also known as the sea eagle, erne or white-tailed eagle.
White-taileds are the fourth largest eagle in the world with females slightly larger than males.
They breed in northern Europe and northern Asia with the largest population in this continent found along the coast of Norway. The world population of the predator in 2008 stood at only 9,000 – 11,000 pairs.
The eagles have broad wings, a large head and a thick meat-cleaver beak. The adult is mainly brown except for the paler head and neck, blackish flight feathers, distinctive white tail, and yellow bill and legs.
In juvenile birds the tail and bill are darker, with the tail becoming white with a dark terminal band in young adults.
Some white-taileds have been found to live over 25 years, with the average age 21.