For the first time in history, over 400 eagles have been counted in Denmark during January.
Hundreds of voluntary ornithologists spent last weekend counting eagles across the nation, finding 409 (395 sea eagles and 14 golden eagles) as part of the Danish ornithological association DOF’s 12th annual mid-winter eagle count. The results surprised DOF.
“Here in the middle of winter, the Danish eagles are usually very spread out and the weather was very grey in many areas over the weekend, so the birds of prey were in many locations and tough to count on account of the haze and fog,” Kim Skelmose, the head of DOF’s ‘Project Eagle’.
“So we had never imagined that the count would set a new record.”
Project Eagle aims to protect Denmark’s eagle population and collect knowledge about the birds.
READ MORE: Chicks of white-tailed eagle and osprey hatch in Gribskov forest
A golden gift
The breeding season for the birds has just begun for 2017 and Skelmose contends there are actually even more eagles in Denmark than the count suggests.
Areas such as around Limfjorden and the Wadden Sea in Jutland have begun to attract more nesting eagles, while all the golden eagles are located in northern Jutland.
“From a European perspective, it is unusual to have golden eagles in areas as densely-populated as Denmark,” said Ole Friis Larsen, the co-ordinator of the count.
“The golden eagle usually sticks to desolate mountain landscapes. The eagles’ success in Denmark is largely down to them lacking in our nature since they were extinguished as a breeding bird at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s.”
The video below shows the first minutes of a newly-hatched eagle chic in Denmark last year.