Love triangle for east coast sea eagles ...

The Blue V female chick at the nest in Angus.
The Blue V female chick at the nest in Angus.

A male sea eagle has successfully raised chicks from two different nests in East Scotland for the first time ever in Scotland.

The eight year old male sea eagle, known as Turquoise Z, has been travelling between Angus and Fife visiting two nests, more than 28 miles apart, and raising chicks with two different females.

This unusual behaviour, known as polygamy, is rarely recorded in sea eagles. It has been seen on the west coast of Scotland on a handful of occasions but these nests were just a few miles apart and the demands of providing enough food for both nests always resulted in failure.

Remarkably, despite the vast distance between the two nests on the east coast of Scotland, there has been a successful outcome. At the nest in Fife, Turquoise Z has raised a female chick tagged Blue X with his usual partner and he has also managed to raise another female chick tagged Blue V at the nest in Angus with a new female.

Owen Selly, RSPB Scotland Sea Eagle project officer, said: “We were astonished to discover Turquoise Z had two nests on the go. I really didn’t expect them to succeed but these remarkable birds have beaten the odds.

“Without the wing tags, which allow us to identify individual birds, we would never have uncovered this extraordinary story. It is also thanks to a dedicated team of local volunteers from RSPB Scotland and the Tayside Raptor Study Group.

“The success of a male sea eagle fledging chicks from two nests is a first for Scotland and we’re all very excited to see what they do next.”

Turquoise Z was released in 2009 as part of the East Scotland reintroduction, and has been breeding in a Forest Enterprise Scotland Woodland in Fife since 2013 with a female released in the same year, known as Turquoise 1.

In April, RSPB Scotland staff were surprised to spot Turquoise Z at a nest site in Angus, sharing the incubation of eggs with another female sea eagle, a six year old bird known as Red Z. They originally thought that he had abandoned his mate in Fife. However, Turquoise Z continued to visit the Fife nest and staff watched in astoundment as he incubated eggs and provided food at both nests.