Rare sea eagle joins the falconry team...
After months of waiting, 10-month-old Chief, a rare White-tailed Sea Eagle, has finally arrived on the Island for what we hope will be an incredible opportunity to educate visitors on the species that became extinct nearly 200 years ago, and provide a major draw to attract people back to the Island after the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief will join a team of over 30 birds looked after by 22-year-old Charlie Rolle, one of the Isle of Wight’s youngest qualified falconers. He will train Chief to fly and express his natural behaviours, so that the magnificent eagle will be ready to educate visitors upon re-opening on 19th May in the park’s spectacular falconry displays.
Charlie Rolle, Head Falconer at Robin Hill said, “It has been my childhood dream to train a White-tailed Sea Eagle. It’s been a slow and steady journey to build a bond of trust with Chief, with his welfare of the upmost importance. It is my passion that time spent with animals and learning from them will help our visitors become more aware of the conservation of our fellow inhabitants and the environmental challenges they face. There is nothing more awe-inspiring than to see a bird of prey in action.”
Why the name Chief?
We believed as such a large, majestic bird, he needed a name worthy of his sense of seniority & superiority. One that was easily recognisable while still characterful. A single syllable is also preferential from a falconer’s perspective, so the bird recognises its name quickly during training and displays.
Where did he come from?
Chief arrived on the Isle of Wight with Charlie after a long journey from the Scottish Eagle Centre. Thanks to Wightlink for providing ferry travel across the Solent to ensure both Chief & Charlie arrived home safely.
Chief weighs in at 9.5lb and has a whopping 7.5ft wingspan. He doesn’t yet have his ‘white tail’, as those feathers grow as he gets older.
Is predominantly fish, provided by the local Ventnor Haven Fishery, but he also loved quail.
Is a 1-to-1 process for Charlie and Chief to build a trusted bond, where Chief is slowly becoming accustomed to Charlie’s voice.
James Crofts, Park Manager at Robin Hill, said, “We are so excited to be reopening with a brand-new arrival that enhances our ability to educate and enthral visitors on rare and wild birds. Chief signifies our ongoing development of quality falconry experiences on site, and we hope that by getting up close and personal people will have more appreciation for the species overall.”
He continues: “We hope Chief will not only see a bumper reopening season for the attraction, but also support the Island’s post COVID recovery by providing a big draw for visitors this year.”