Chris Packham has got more news about Fred the golden eagle

Chris Packham speaks about Fred the golden eagle
Support us and go ad-free

The Canary previously reported on the mysterious case of Fred, the satellite-tagged golden eagle. He apparently went missing just south of Edinburgh, only to reappear briefly miles out to sea. After that, the tag went dead.


TV naturalist Chris Packham was part of a team that fitted satellite tags to a number of young golden eagles last summer. The tags help scientists understand the eagles’ behaviour and see where they’re living. They can also provide evidence in the all-too-common event of an eagle dying in suspicious circumstances.

In January, the team noticed that the tag on an eagle called Fred had stopped transmitting. The last position was in woodland near a grouse moor just south of Edinburgh. It’s highly unusual for tags to fail so this generally means bad news for the bird. But then, something truly strange happened. Fred’s tag began transmitting again. Ten miles out to sea. The tag transmitted for another couple of days before stopping for good. Its last position was about 15 miles offshore. Investigative blog Raptor Persecution UK, which was part of the tagging team, published the transmission maps.

But new information has now emerged which fills in some of the gaps in the story. Packham has returned to the woodland where Fred apparently last roosted to describe the new findings:

A pattern of persecution

As Packham explains, the extra location evidence strongly suggests suspicious activity has taken place. “It looks,” he says, “as if the tag has made a journey around the Edinburgh bypass, out the A1 and then up to North Berwick.” He then ponders:

So how could this be? How could our eagle be off the grid, flying around but not transmitting with its full GPS…? That’s undoubtedly very suspicious, isn’t it?

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

He said in his first video about Fred that the disappearance happened near a grouse moor. And Ian Thomson, head of investigations for RSPB Scotland, pointed out that this fits a noticeable pattern of suspicious bird of prey incidents.

Some within the shooting community have suggested that Packham and others are interfering with the course of justice by commenting on an ongoing investigation. Raptor Persecution UK makes it clear that all the information it releases regarding the case has been cleared by the police.

The Canary has previously covered driven grouse shooting here and here. We’ve spoken about the threat to hen harriers in particular, as well as to raptors close to lowland pheasant shoots, and the fact that England no longer has a single resident golden eagle. Earlier this year, Bradford Council ended driven grouse shooting on the publicly-owned part of Ilkley Moor. Campaigners are continuing to push for either strict licensing or a complete ban of driven grouse shooting. The apparent untimely death of Fred the golden eagle will add urgency to those calls.

Get Involved!

– Share Chris Packham’s new video.

– Sign the petition to ban driven grouse shooting, which closes on 2 April.

– Keep up to speed with Raptor Persecution UK.

– Read more from The Canary on wildlife crime.

Featured image via YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed