The five year reintroduction programme began in 2019 – but the White Tailed Eagle project has already come a long way.

Since the first release of young eagles on the Isle of Wight that summer, the team have had to adapt throughout the coronavirus crisis.

With some extra precautions and help from its supporters, the project was able to continue.

In January 2020 began with the eagles that had been released the previous summer hunkering down to experience their first winter.

Spring brought their first major exploratory flights, taking them right across the country, and saw them develop their hunting and fishing skills. This summer they were joined by the class of 2020, seven chicks released in August, who arrived on the island by air.

In autumn both groups of birds began to spend more time exploring the south of England coastline, and further afield, before beginning to prepare for the colder and shorter days once more.

The project is planned to continue with further releases over the next few years. It will take several years for the young birds to become established, but the hope is they will successfully breed in the future.

Roy Dennis said: “2020 has been a very encouraging year for the project. It was exciting that a two–year-old female which flew north and summered in the Scottish borders found her way back to the island and re-joined her partner of last winter.

“Another boost was the older birds learning to catch grey mullet in the estuaries, then cuttlefish in the Solent and now taking amazing flights out into the English Channel.”