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Second year of low golden eagle hatchling count in Finland

Efforts to ring the birds' young have seen the numbers of hatchlings drop for two consecutive years.

Maakotkan pesä puussa
A massive golden eagle nest, high in a tree. Image: Petteri Polojärvi, Metsähallitus

It's been another bad year for golden eagles in Finland, as an annual project to track down and ring eaglets has again observed that the number of new hatchlings is falling.

Finland's state-owned forest manager Metsähallitus says it counted just 101 golden eagle hatchlings this season, down from an already low total of 140 counted last year. The number of nests that successfully hosted a golden eagle eaglet was calculated to be down by 40 percent.

Metsähallitus says the eagles' poor food situation is to blame, as populations of Finland's land fowl – a major source of food for the raptor – are also down.

Most of Finland's eagles live in the north

A total of 543 golden eagle territories have been identified in Finland in the past, 80 percent of which are in Lapland, and a full 90 percent of which are in areas with active reindeer husbandry.

This year's count found only 380 inhabited territories, however, with only 86 successful nests and 101 young that could be ringed for future observation and tracking.

Five new golden eagle territories were discovered in 2018, four of which were found in southern parts of the country.

Edit on July 26 at 7:42pm to indicate that the Finnish story referred to golden eagles and not white-tailed eagles.

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