2020 appears to have been the second most successful year so far for Iceland’s sea eagles—at least since official records began.
Detailed records of the eagle’s breeding success began in 1959 and only one year since then has seen more eaglets successfully raised than this year.
That year was actually last year, when 56 eagle chicks fledged. This year, there have been 51 eaglets from 60 nests. The numbers were confirmed for Morgunblaðið by animal ecologist Kristinn Haukur Skarphéðinsson.
The Icelandic eagle population stands at around 85 breeding pairs—mostly around the Breiðafjörður area—though they breed from Faxaflói in the south to Húnaflói in the north, and sometimes even further afield.
The oft-persecuted eagle nearly died out completely in the middle of last century, with as few as 20 breeding pairs at one point in the 1960s. Eagles are now protected by law.