A white-tailed sea eagle, reintroduced as part of a nature conservation programme, was found dead in February at Burnfoot Hill wind farm in the Ochil hills near Tillicoutry in Clackmannanshire. A post mortem by government-approved scientists concluded that a “likely cause of death” was collision with a wind turbine.
Eagles have been killed by wind farms in Germany and Norway before, but no deaths have previously been recorded in Scotland. Conservationists stress that many more eagles are killed by landowners, gamekeepers, power lines and trains.
But evidence that a sea eagle has now died after crashing into a wind turbine is likely to ignite fierce controversy, and trigger renewed questions about where wind farms should be sited.
Sea eagles were driven to extinction in Scotland early in the 20th Century, and have been reintroduced from Norway in a series of government-backed releases beginning in the 1980s. Bigger than golden eagles, they are the UK’s largest bird of prey, with an estimated 79 pairs now successfully breeding.