back to article Sea eagles menace Scottish children

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has had a bit of a Daily Mail moment by claiming reintroduced sea eagles pose a serious threat to children, and that there should be an "exit strategy"* to deal with the menace from birds of prey should they decide to dine on Caledonian kiddies. The warning comes after a white-tailed …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Daft Reverand

    A sea eagle has a simple notion of ownership summed up as "I caught it so it is mine." Trying to nick a goose from sea eagle without a large stick is folly indeed. I would not venture too near sea cliffs when gulls are rearing young; they can and do draw blood!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yep, he should have took a leaf from the Crofter's Book, give it both barrels and dig a hole.

      Horrible creatures if you keep livestock - the research commissioned by Gov to disprove the 'myth' they take lambs [the reason they were all shot in the first place last century] has just found that they do indeed form around 15% of the eagles diet - and are almost a staple during the season.

      Still I guess the urbane middleclasses care a lot more about pretty Norwegian eagles than they do Scottish crofters....

      1. Geoffrey W

        @someone pretending sympathy for crofters

        <QUOTE Horrible creatures if you keep livestock /QUOTE>

        Specifically, grouse, which you can sell for vast amounts to rich tossers to shoot at.

        The clue is in the details. The complaint comes from the 'Scottish Game Keepers Association'.

        Game = Grouse = Money = Eagle food.

        Eagle = problem.

        Previous Solution = wipe em out.

        Current solution = Too much sympathy for eagles so first try to blacken their reputation and then wipe em out, surreptitiously, with guns and poisoned bait, blaming decline on poachers and egg hunters and ramblers who must be kept at bay at all costs.

      2. Andrew Harvey

        Also @someone pretending sympathy for crofters

        Presumably you don't fit the category of the "urbane middleclasses" - whatever that may be.

        However you seem to side with mankind (the crofters) against nature (the Sea Eagle) without giving a sh*t about the natural world and what mankind's encroachment has done and is doing to it.

        It's about time people got real and started to reverse some of the ridiculous belief in endless growth that apparently is the only way to economic happiness.

        Tell that to your great grandchildren when land is either used for housing, industry or agriculture - and nothing else. Oh yeah - and there won't be enough oil left for people to use, gas to heat or cook - but that's okay, because science will save us. And crofters...? They'll possibly be okay if they can live of the land - the rest of won't be.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    leave the birds alone and they'll leave you alone.. simple

    What if Farquharson went into a Restaurant, walked up to the corner table and took a plate of food from a burly scotsman.

    I think he might get twatted then too.

    (tux because it's the nearest thing to an eagle)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Two things wrong with this analogy:

      1) Scotsman in a restaurant (that doesn't consist of a counter and a fryer);

      2) Scotsman's plate having anything left on it by the time you've crossed the room.

      (Don't kill me, I'm Scottish so it's OK)

  3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Buzzard attacks.

    Yeah, deadly birds - NOT! I've seen the results of a buzzard attack on a cyclist in Devon (who wasn't wearing a helmet), all he got was three gashes in his head. No stitches required, the cyclist said the tetanus shot he had to have down the local A&E was worse! No idea why the bird attacked him, but it may have been because the cycle route was close to its nest. Having suffered years of the local farmers shooting them, poisoning them and smashing their nests, I'd not surprised the buzzards would be a bit defensive.

    As for sea eagles attacking children, get real! A child, even an infant, is far too big for a sea eagle to lift, and looks nothing like their traditional prey. By all means, if you try taking a meal away from one (and an eagle is unlikely to understand the difference between a wild goose and a farm one) then it is probably going to get upset, but any child stupid enough to be annoying an eagle is going to get hurt sooner or later. Can I suggest some people need a bit more education.

  4. proto-robbie

    The power of prayer...

    ...Man of God gets giant pecker.

    1. Ru

      Have you considered

      contracting your services out to the El Reg Strapline Bureau?

  5. TonyG

    Nothing to do with grouse then?

    Eagles are known to take rabbit, hares, lambs and grouse. I wonder which one the SGA is concerned about?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Nothing to do with grouse then?

      Could be... Then again, what does Sea Eagle taste like?

      1. TonyG

        What does Sea Eagle Taste like?


      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: what does Sea Eagle taste like?

        Umm... chicken?

      3. jake Silver badge

        Sea Eagles probably taste of penguin ...

        ... just like their cousin, the Bald Eagle. Only stands to reason, when you think about what the majority of their diet consists of.

        The Bald Eagle I sampled was road-kill. The penguin was after an unfortunate accident at the San Diego Zoo when my ex- was pre-vet. We figured "waste not, want not" and broke out the hibachi. They taste almost exactly the same, but the penguin was fattier and slightly more stringy. The Bald Eagle had better mouth feel, but that's probably because the lady who cooked the Eagle knew how, and we were just guessing with the penguin. Both gave me the shits.

        Yes, the Bald Eagle was legal. I was a guest of the Lassik band of the Eel River Athapaskans. It was part of an initiation ceremony. I still have the tail feather they gave me (also legal, which is unusual for a non-Native American).

        (I know, I shouldn't post when ElReg's DNS is hosed up ...)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SGA - Toff Loving Serfs

    The gamekeepers view of wildlife control "Ahhh yesssss surrrrrr I shooted all of them buuuuurdss for ye surrr, laid out the antifreeze laced meat too surrrr. "

    Local cops also complicit as they run stands at "countryside festivals" advertising their support for land owners, threats to arrest those "tampering with snares" a trap banned in many juridisdictions due to the damage it causes to wildlife.

    Hmmm I wonder how many coppers go shooting with said "Gamekeepers" and "landowners".

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Well now

    I'd be far more worried about the wild highlanders myself.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    No need to worry

    All those wind turbines they are installing on Scotland will get the sea eagles.

  10. Morteus

    Och - Alfred Hitchcock was right all along!

    I've lived in two costal towns (in Devon and now scotland) and a far worse problem is harrasment from gulls. There has always been isolated incidents all over the country of birds 'attacking' folk. Can't see it's any more likely in this scenario than any other - short of living in a bird free zone of course...

    1. Equitas
      Paris Hilton

      Birds can be vicious .....

      Even seagulls can identify individual humans and take a delight in attacking those individuals.

      Vicious flying rats, best dealt with using a shotgun.

      Incidentally a kid at one school found a use for the pathetic politically-correct windmill .... saw it slicing a seagull in two. Can't any more say that the windmill is useless!

      Paris -- because she's a better sort of bird!

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    "Hunter" Farquharson

    With a name like that I'm not sure that I wouldn't want to give him a good thrashing meself.

  12. sgt101

    Been there seen that

    On my father in law's farm, on Mull. One of the buggers came to eat afterbirth during lambing.

    It looked at me as I came over the wall to do the count, with a bright yellow eye. I have never been near something so wild and proud before. It leapt up into the air and spiraled around, I heard the beat of it's wings and it was gone.

    Closer to god than you or me.

    1. Pigeon

      +1 Oscar, or something

      You are a lucky chap. You don't need a god when you have this experience. I have been close to a deer that zipped off in a flash. It doesn't happen very often.

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "That will remove what should be a healthy fear of humans."

    All is going according to plan!

    The next step will be to attach .... lasers. Once my trusty hunchback Hanif has perfected them.

    Allah is Great!

  14. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Act of God

    Perhaps the Good Lord was simply a little pissed off with the fearless very reverend Hunter Farquharson's sermon last week?

    1. mhenriday

      May I be allowed to surmise

      that the very reverend Farquharson's sermon dealt with angels and/or other flying celestial apparitions in a relatively unflattering manner ? What goes 'round comes 'round - instant karma, in other words....


  15. jake Silver badge

    Amazing. And sad.

    You Brits are so isolated and insulated on your little island that you don't remember how carnivores work.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The solid wall of comments supporting the view that the SGA should naff off would tend to discredit this theory. If there's an English-speaking nation that's woefully insulated, you need to pan West a couple of thousand miles.

      Perhaps you're too ruralised to understand how politically motivated scaremongering and lobbying via the popular press works?

  16. nyelvmark


    Anyone who's tasted Scots infant knows that these are unlikely to be preferred prey for any predator. They're also likely to be sober enough to fight back, unlike their parents - who are nonetheless mostly immune, given the unpleasant taste caused by a diet of deep-fried Mars bars.

    1. sonicmonkey

      Re: Nonsense...

      Scots are all alcoholics.....*check*

      Everything is deep fried.....*check*

      It's a good job nobody Scottish is reading this forum or such a slurry of stereotypes might cause offence.

      1. Steven Roper


        Looking at the votes I'd say most beg to differ. You see, unlike Daily-Mail-reading do-gooders such as yourself, most Scots (that I've encountered) have this ability called a "sense of humour", which enables them to laugh off disparaging jokes and even come back with a few of their own. Unfortunately the proliferation of PC hand-wringers in recent years means that this wonderful ability is sadly becoming increasingly rare.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        statistically, you'd still be better off taking your chances with a sea eagle rather the Scottish diet.

        <- That's a picture of me stealing the bottle of Buckfast out of your coat. :)

      3. James O'Shea


        You'd drink too, if you had to live in Scotland.

        And as for the 'all food is fried'... <>

        No sign of frying here...

      4. Anonymous Coward


        Oh boy, here they come in their kilts and hairy knees, munching haggis and tossing their sporrans, rolling their Arrrr(se)s as they waggle their cabers in their manly hands...och aye, weee're all doooomed Doctor Finlay...och is that a penny down theer in that snake pit...its mine I tell yeee, all mine............

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The eagles around here are smart

    In my part of Aus we often see eagles that swoop and collect highly venomous snakes from cane fields. They then fly a few hundred feet upwards and drop the snakes onto a road to kill it safely. Pretty clever thinking by this magnificent bird.

  18. Lars Silver badge


    Too bad mosquitoes are so tiny or we would have killed them all decades ago.

    Still, perhaps we should concentrate on dangerous stuff more and leave an absolutely superb bird like the sea eagle some slack.

    1. Stu_The_Jock

      As it Scotland, think of the midges

      Actually forget it, some (non-Scottish) scientists in the late 80s (from memory) claimed that the midge was extinct, as they had never captured any . . . walk along a canal bank or in the trees in the summer and you don't need to catch them, they come in swarms to collect you . . raw, not deep fried too !

    2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      The Big and the Small...

      "...Too bad mosquitoes are so tiny or we would have killed them all decades ago...."

      We were doing very well against mosquitoes, until some raving green nutters decided to ban DDT.

      Now there are a lot more deaths from malaria - one of the biggest killers of African children. Between 1-3 million humans are killed by this disease every year.

      But it happens in Africa, so no one in the West cares very much, and it would embarrass too many conservation groups to withdraw the ban.....

  19. Peter Galbavy


    the kiddies should be more worried about the religious types than the wildlife ?

  20. Havin_it

    Omitted from the story the fact that RSPB had earlier paid the very Rev Farquharson a visit after a previous attack on his geese, at which time they put up netting over the enclosures to keep raptors at bay. And what did he do? Took it all down again.

    Press release should read: "Sea eagles menace Scottish idiots".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Think you'd better check your facts....

      Last time (3 years ago) it killed his hens, which are still largely in an enclosure he paid for - geese need space during the day - unless your suggesting he covers 1/2 an acre with netting.

      Secondly the RSPB don't provide the services or practical help you're suggesting, just occasional advice and frequent denial - the cost of compensating for dead livestock or providing the means to secure them, when it is possible, would be huge.

      Still the good news for VRF is the increasingly tame eagle is now back in an enclosure in an RSPB Santuary while they figure out where to release it this time. Whether it chooses to stay there and work for a living rather than looking for the easy pickings it associates with humans is another thing....

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "unless your [sic] suggesting he covers 1/2 an acre with netting"


        Or learn to suck down loosing a bit of livestock every now and again by something that has every right to exist and every right not to have a deep understanding of property laws.

        Noah didn't save a couple of sea eagles just so some Rev. could whine about them...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down


          What staggering arrogance...

          >Or learn to suck down loosing a bit of livestock every now and again by something that has every right to exist

          Probably hard to get your head round I realise, but there are quite a lot of folk in that part of the UK for whom losing a couple of hens has a direct impact on what they get to eat.

          >Rev. could whine about them...

          I think he's been very patient and understanding......

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down

            Not really.

            Oh, those poor starving landowners who can afford to employ gamekeepers and go grouse shooting on the weekend. How will they survive? You're breaking my heart here.

            Livestock owners have always had to deal with predation, just as teachers have to deal with a disruptive child or two in every class, builders deal with 10% wastage on material, and you and I put up with a bruised apple in every bag and a scratch on the car when you park in a supermarket. It's just one of those downsides that you have to tolerate and accept, and if you can't then you get out of the business/park somewhere else.

            Bitching about predators quite naturally deciding to chow down on unprotected livestock is what is staggeringly arrogant. Especially as they've been doing it since long before we invented the word 'farm' and 'property'.

            Complaints about predators eating the small tasty critters being raised and bred in order for a different kind of predator with money and a Barber jacket to blow them out of the sky is grossly hypocritical.

    2. Miek

      and not to mention ...

      Flying Barn Doors!

  21. Mr Young

    Scottish children?

    Much more scary than a sea eagle! Shudder...

  22. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    more human contact

    I don't think the prospect of greater contact with humans will produce complacency. The very reverend gentleman is not very representative of humanity and if these birds *really* tries to pick a fight with an average adult human they will almost certainly be removed from the gene pool.

    Human children are, as noted by others, too heavy to lift and so the bird would face the prospect of a ground battle with a creature that almost always has adult company. Sea eagles aren't that stupid, even if the SGA is.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Stone the bleedin' crows!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "A buzzard has shattered my windscreen."

    I'll get you some paper.

  25. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Bird attacks

    Note that the "flying barn door" landed on his back.

    NZ children have been attacked by (introduced) Australian magpies for years (These are about the size of a rook, hang around in gangs of up to 100 and are notoriously bad tempered, not the pissant european variety. When Magpies move in, all other bird species move OUT). It was found the easiest way to ward them off was a tshirt or hat with eyes painted on the back.

    It might be worth a crack for warding off eagles. It works with gulls too, as long as you don't go near the nests.

    (Some bleeding hearts decided that relocating the most recidivist birds to "remote" locations would solve the issue, but it was found they'd gravitate towards settlements and start attacking children there, so these days the usual relocation device has 400 balls and 2 barrels.)

    Comments about twits removing netting and trying to remove a dinner from an eagle noted. Very silly man....

  26. Anonymous Coward


    I was going to pick you up on the spelling of Rum, but it looks like the spelling I'm used to, Rhum, has apparently been out of date since 1991. I really ought to get more up to date maps.

    1. Blane Bramble


      They'll be changing the spelling of Eigg next!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blue Tits

    That is all.

  28. Allan George Dyer

    Densely Populated?

    Compared to, say, Hong Kong, where we have (a few) White-bellied Sea Eagles (7ft wingspan) and (plenty) Black Eared Kites (5ft wingspan), but no reported attacks by these birds.

    The Jungle Crows dropping the steel reinforcing rods they use for their nests, however, have been a problem.

    I could imagine there would be a few incidents if the Scots followed the Spartan tradition of leaving new-born infants exposed on mountainsides overnight.

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