The White-Tailed Eagle: 100 Years Of Protection - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The White-Tailed Eagle: 100 Years Of Protection

Published January 30, 2014

Photos by
Mike Watson
Wild Images

One of Iceland’s most celebrated birds of prey, the white-tailed eagle, was first officially protected 100 years ago this year.
The Icelandic parliament approved a measure to protect the bird in 1914, Vísir reports, with legislation that lasts with us to this day.
Kristinn Haukur Skarphéðinsson, an ornithologist at The Icelandic Institute of Natural History, told reporters that at the time the measure was approved, the eagles’ numbers had been drastically reduced. The birds were hunted with impunity with firearms and poison alike, he said, adding, “This measure prevented this species from dying out in Iceland.”

While the eagle population in Iceland has had its share of struggles, today the country hosts at least 70 pairs of the birds, and their numbers continue to grow.

Whilst there used to be a live webcam where you could witness some nesting eagles in the Westfjords, it now appears to be offline. But if you travel up north, and are particularly fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of these amazing birds yourself.

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