White-tailed eagle

Conservation success story

White-tailed eagle, photo Eero Haapanen

The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is a conservation success story. The largest bird of prey in Finland used to suffer from persecution and environmental pollutants in the Baltic Sea, which often caused breeding problems, such as unhatched eggs or chicks dying while they were still young. From the 1970s onwards, the eagles have been fed with pig carcasses deposited in the archipelago. This has allowed the white-tailed eagle population to recover, and now there are a few hundred pairs nesting in Finland.

The species successfully nested in Helsinki for the first time in 2016. White-tailed eagles can be seen throughout the year on Vallisaari island and other areas in Helsinki. They occasionally hunt in Vanhankaupunginlahti as well.

The future of the white-tailed eagle looks bright, although nowadays large numbers of them are indirectly killed as a result of hunting; as many as a third of white-tailed eagles suffer from lead poisoning due to ingesting lead shots that are still used in the Åland Islands.