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The white-tailed eagle soars again

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Photo: DPA
09:24 CEST+02:00
White tailed eagles, some of Germany's biggest birds of prey, are soaring to record numbers again off the country's northern coastline, having pulled back from the brink of extinction just a century ago, new figures show.

In 1913 there were just 23 nesting white tailed eagles pairs along the Baltic Sea coastline – now there are around 300 in the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania alone a study from the state environment office showed last week.

Nationally the number is thought to be as high as 600, says Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), pointing out that there are also populations in Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

Laws to protect the majestic sea birds, also known as fish-eagles – were introduced during the 1920s, and by the 1950s numbers had increased.

But their recovery was still being hindered by pesticides containing now-illegal chemicals and around 80 percent of young white tailed eagles were dying, they were so badly affected by poisons in their food.

There were just 80 pairs in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania in the 1980s, largely due to pesticide poisoning.

Today they are most threatened by lead poisoning as the birds, which eat carrion as well as fish, ingest bits of lead shot when eating animals which have been killed by hunters.

And oddly enough, the second biggest killer is collisions with trains.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/jcw

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