Glasgow & West Scotland

'Medical miracle' sea eagle found dead on Isle of Mull

Kellan the sea eagle Image copyright John McAvoy
Image caption Kellan hatched on the isle of Mull in 2010

A young sea eagle described by wildlife experts as "a medical miracle" has been found dead on the Isle of Mull.

The body of the four-year-old male, known as Kellan, was discovered by a hillwalker over the festive period.

Kellan was rescued by RSPB Scotland in 2010 after breaking his wing and leg. He was nursed back to health by the Scottish SPCA and returned to the wild.

It is not known how the bird died but it is thought he may have been involved in a fight with an adult sea eagle.

Kellan was hatched at a nest on the island - known to millions of Springwatch viewers as Eagle Island - in 2010.

He took his first flight during the summer but within a few weeks was found on the ground, badly injured.

RSPB Mull officer, Dave Sexton, who first rescued Kellan, said he was "heartbroken" to hear he had died.

'Defiant fighter'

"You're not meant to have favourites in this job but he was mine. He was a medical miracle as his injuries were so severe and we sometimes wondered if he would survive for long."

Mr Sexton said Kellan made "medical history" as he was "rebuilt" by the Scottish SPCA.

"He was defiant and a fighter and he deserved his second chance back in the wild, where he belonged.

"I last saw him alive in 2013 and immediately knew it was him as he had quite a distinctive flight profile with his once broken wing held at a slightly different angle.

Image copyright John McAvoy
Image caption Kellan's remains were found over the festive period on Mull

"It was hard to spot but I knew him so well and I was just thrilled he was still going strong. He took off and soared up above my head before flying away over a distant mountain ridge."

Mr Sexton said Kellan was well on his way to being a full breeding adult with white tail feathers and a pale head and beak, and this may have been a factor in his death.

"He was found close to another active sea eagle nest and as a near adult male he wouldn't have been welcomed by the resident male and there may have been a fight over the territory," the RSPB officer said.

'Amazing bird'

"He was a gutsy young eagle with his full, long life ahead of him and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he went into battle as he was at that kind of age.

"I think he was an amazing bird, full of spirit and a positive 'I will survive' attitude."

Mr Sexton said his "heart sank" when he heard Kellan's remains had been found and knew his dream of "finding him one day paired up with a female and breeding himself was over".

"But he had four good years in the wild, living life as an eagle should and that's what matters most," he added.

"He died in a beautiful wild area of Mull, on a rocky headland overlooking the sea. I'll never forget him and will miss his indomitable presence on Mull"

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