Compared with previous years, 2022 has been a bad year for the eagle population in Iceland.
In the summer, there were at least 58 known nesting pairs of eagles in Iceland, but of these, only 27 pairs produced some 38 chicks. Compared with 2021, some 45 nesting pairs produced 58 chicks.
Specialists blame bad spring weather this year, as nesting success can be shown to worsen the further north the pair nested.
Since 2019, GPS trackers have been used to trace the habitats and journeys of young eagles. In 2022, 14 fledgelings were outfitted with transmitters. Three of them died due to unknown causes, and others are still staying at their home nests through the winter when they will leave their nests.
The young birds carry their transmitters for life, so over time scientists hope to map their journeys and how their routes change over time. Using this information, specialists hope to be able to better anticipate where to establish conservation areas and where to limit infrastructure, such as potential wind turbines.
Nevertheless, Iceland’s eagle population has been doing well in recent years thanks to conservation efforts, with some 92 known eagles in just West Iceland, mostly nesting around Faxaflói.
The monitoring is being conducted in cooperation between the University of Iceland, the West Iceland Nature Research Centre, and local people.