The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has said it is delighted that a male white-tailed eagle that had been living alone for the past four years on the east Clare side of Lough Derg has bonded with a female and the pair have now produced two chicks together.

This is the second time that this male eagle has bonded with a female after his first partner died from Avian Flu 2018.

That earlier Eagle pairing had also produced chicks including the first hatching and fledging of a white-tailed eagle chick in Ireland for over 110 years.

The male eagle was first released in Killarney National Park in Co Kerry 15 years ago.

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Five years later, he set up territory in Lough Derg with a female from the same release batch.

They went on to have chicks together each year until her death from Avian Flu almost five years ago.

The new female partner of the male came originally from Norway and was released into the wild with 15 other white-tailed eagle chicks in Lough Derg in 2020.

The female first flew off to Scotland.

However, she returned six months later and eventually bonded with the now single older male.

They set up a new territory together in February this year and built a nest on an island in Lough Derg.

They subsequently mated and the female successfully hatched out one white-tailed eagle chick.

Eamonn Meskell heads up the National Parks and Wildlife Service White Tailed Eagle Reintroduction project and has been monitoring these eagles for many years.

He said the NPWS is very familiar with the eagle's history as part of the project.

"The male eagle has been single for four years since his previous partner died," he said.

"Of course, the fact that he has now found and bred with a new partner is significant to our project, but we're also delighted to see this eagle that we know well make a new bond and start a new family," he added.

NPWS said nature conservation, particularly where efforts to protect an endangered species is concerned, can take quite some time to see success but that in this instance patience and planning have paid off.

Elsewhere and in recent days at another site in Co Clare, NPWS staff have observed and tagged three chicks reared by one of the male eagle’s offspring from his previous partner.

This earlier offspring, a female eagle, has thus far reared 10 chicks, which are spread around the island of Ireland, some of whom themselves are forming pairs.

Mr Meskill said: "It is also incredible that one of his offspring is now herself rearing three chicks. This is a very rare occurrence, as a very small minority of nest sites in Ireland, Norway or anywhere else have more than two chicks on nest."

"This is the second year that three chicks are on the nest at this nest site. This shows how suited Ireland and our lakes are from a habitat and feeding perspective for this reintroduction project," he added.