White Tailed Sea Eagle Returns To Southern Britain
The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation is to transfer some young eagles from Scotland to the Isle of Wight. This will be in late June 2019 and between six and eight birds will be moved. Because these birds will grow up on the IOW, they will recall it as home. Even though they will roam far away, they will return to breed in about five years. The thought of seeing the white tailed sea eagle fills me with joy. Welcome home will be my first comment. My second will be thank you, for the timely publicity for my forthcoming book.
In my book ‘My Pagan Ancestor Zuri‘, with some perception it appears, I refer to the ‘hookbeaks’ in 2200 BC. I actually wrote that the white tailed sea eagle, “would have been the monarch of the sky towers. Its natural habitat was here on our mild coast and not on the Scottish Islands as it is today. It is not a cliff dweller and prefers to nest in trees, ideally pines, which abounded then as now on our heathland. Its nature is to feed on the nearest available food source, usually carrion and a visit to the sky towers would have been routine.” The book includes a detailed description of excarnation, otherwise called sky burial.
The White Tailed Sea Eagle
I did my research and wrote this text some years ago, before I knew of this reintroduction. However, I did not know that the last pair of these birds to breed in England was at Culver Cliff on the IOW in 1780. The sea eagle eats mainly dead fish found along the strand. Otherwise, it hunts shallow water to catch grey mullet. Fortunately, these seem to be common in Christchurch Harbour and on the lower Avon and Stour. Dozens of them can be seen in the water below the bridges on the walk into Christchurch.
A Spiritual Bird
I believe Zuri and her people will have venerated the eagle because it would have dominated the sky towers. A corpse was an immediate and easy source of food and that suits the nature of the bird. It is not difficult to imagine that to Zuri’s people the bird possessed the spirit of a human. It has that carriage, that eagle eye, that would have come from our symbiotic relationship over millenia; we were the ultimate eagle food.