The Eagle’s disappearance has the charity organization the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) worried the bird may be dead.
The bird’s home turf had been the Lake District’s Riggindale Valley, at Haweswater. The high-flying predator had occupied the territory since 2001, according to the RSPB, and he had been alone since 2004, when his mate died.
According to the organization, the eagle was last seen in November 2015. Experts there say it’s not unusual for the bird to go unseen in the winter, but his absence from springtime skies is ominous. Normally, they say, this would be the time of year he would be seen building a nest and making displays in his territory to try to attract a mate.
“When the eagle didn’t appear last month we thought there was a chance he might be hunting in a nearby valley, but over the past few weeks we’ve been gradually losing hope,” said Lee Schofield, RSPB site manager for the bird’s territory, in a statement.
England’s last resident Golden Eagle is feared to have died – signalling the tragic end of era, devastated wildlife experts have revealed.
The lonely bird, which bird-watchers said symbolised a ‘wild element of Britain’s past’ – had lived on his own for the last 12 years after his mate sadly perished.
The eagle was believed to be around 20-years old and attracted bird-lovers from around the UK to its home at Riggindale Valley, near Haweswater in the Lake District.
But Cumbrian RSPB experts have now revealed the bird has not been seen since before the turn of the year – and is feared to have died or fled.
RSPB staff at Haweswater, who operate a special eagle viewpoint at the site, became seriously concerned last month when the eagle failed to appear.
Although not always sighted during the winter, usually in spring the magnificent eagle was seen nest-building and displaying – in vain – to attract a mate.
Lee Schofield, site manager at RSPB Haweswater, said: “When the eagle didn’t appear last month we thought there was a chance he might be hunting in a nearby valley.
“But over the past few weeks we’ve been gradually losing hope.
“We will probably never find out what happened to him but as he was around 19-20 years old, an advanced age for an eagle.
“It’s quite possible that he died of natural causes.”
Golden Eagles arrived in the Lake District from Scotland in the late 1950s and a pair first bred at Haweswater in 1969.
Between 1970 and 1996, 16 chicks were born at Haweswater and another second pair of eagles had four chicks in the Lake District between 1970 and 1983.
Mr Schofield said the eagle’s disappearance marks the end of an era as he has been an iconic part of the Haweswater landscape for the past 15 year.
Although Golden Eagles are more plentiful in North America and across Europe, England had no breeding pairs – and the Cumbria male was the last of its kind in the country.
There are still and handful of birds in Scotland, while in Ireland 46 birds were released into the wild in Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal, from 2001 to 2006.
Those reintroduced Irish Golden eagles at the park produced a pair of fledglings for the first time in 2011.
“Depressed numbers” in southern Scotland had hampered the Lake District eagle’s chances of finding a mate, experts said.
Yet regardless of a lack of females, in previous years the bird had been seen “sky dancing” – a series of dives and rises intended to attract a female partner.
Elsewhere in Europe, there are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs.
An RSPB spokesman said it was “incredibly sad” and added there was “a real sense of loss” among colleagues.
Mr Schofield added: “By this time of year you would have expected to have seen him on display to attract a mate.
“As the last Golden eagle in England, it’s an element of wildness that has gone.
“There’s no real way of knowing for sure.
It’s a single bird in a huge landscape and he was of an age we couldn’t rule out death by natural causes.
“It may be that he has found an alternative food source.”
The Cumbrian male is believed to have been the third to take possession of the Haweswater territory.
The previous one disappeared in late 2001 when he was at least 30 years old – at the time, he was the oldest known British Eagle.
Golden Eagle: https://youtu.be/r8aZ-8FakNI