The white-tailed eagle & the stag

13th March 2018
Is the photo of the eagle and the stag real? 

Our image of the white-tailed eagle has now been viewed over 2 million times from the RSPB Highlands and Islands facebook page….. We’ve had a phenomenal response – phone calls, messages, press attention and to answer some of the questions here’s more of our story…

So is it ACTUALLY real?

Was the stag the result of a road accident? Yes and yes! Have we ever captured images like this? Not as spectacular, no! However, we have been using wildlife cameras for a long time. Not always on carrion but when we have the opportunity to we do. It helps us understand the activity in and around the forest.

What other carrion? Without getting in to the debate of a growing deer population in Scotland, it is a fact that as part of the forest management here the deer numbers are managed and are managed in a respectful manner. What doesn’t end up in our freezer or that of friends and family is returned to the hill to let nature take its course. We are at peace with this process and are grateful that we can access food with zero food miles where the animal has lived as nature intended.

We are fortunate to have had fantastic support from Jamie Boyle, the local RSPB manager, to continue learning more about the wildlife in and around the forest and to ensure the forest activity and wildlife can co-exist in the best way possible. Having remote cameras observe the activity is part of this journey. The activity at any carrion has attracted a variety or raptors including buzzards, ravens, golden eagle and of course this very impressive sea-eagle.

Is there more to this picture? 

Jamie was actually with us the day we changed the card at this wildlife camera and when we got back to look through the images I can’t begin to express how in awe we all were and still are at the contrast of the sea eagle and stag in this way. Jamie’s colleagues at the RSPB were equally as excited and eager to share the image for understandable reasons. So for those who queried the authenticity of the photo we can tell you that the photo is very real! What our good friends at the RSPB did opt to do was to remove a rib cage from the bottom left hand corner as it was felt it distracted slightly from the point of sharing the image – the magnificence of this bird as it stood over the stag in such a manner. Had everyone known how far this image would have travelled perhaps there might have been a different decision but we can assure you this image was shared with the most genuine of intentions.

There has been so much interest in the image and story we have decided to share some more in this short film. This is the UK’s largest bird and oh my goodness does it show…