A pair of Norwegian sea eagles known as havørn has returned to the Oslo Fjord area and begun nesting on the large island of Håøya, not far from Drøbak. The nesting is a triumph for wildlife advocates after the eagles all but disappeared for more than 100 years.
The eagles, a protected species nationwide since 1968, have become more common in northern Norway and there now are an estimated 4,000 pair around the country. They were first spotted back around the Oslo Fjord in 2008 and now a pair is nesting on the steep sides of Håøya, part of which is itself a nature preserve.
“Two babies have been observed in the nest,” Eli Moe, an environmental official for Frogn municipality, told newspaper Aftenposten. She said many observations of the parents in full flight have been reported by both boat- and holiday cabin owners on the east side of the fjord, around Båtstø at Hallangen.
“With powerful binoculars, we can follow developments from the sea or even better from land,” Moe told Aftenposten. She warned, though, that the local government has put up restrictions against people entering the area near the nest, “to give the eagle family the most protection we can.” The area is popular, with many hytter, permanent residents and lots of boats, but mostly on the eastern side of the fjord.
Hunted until 1968
Nesting was common farther south along the Oslo Fjord, at Hankøsundet in Østfold County, until 1882. Then the eagles, which used to be hunted, disappeared from the area entirely. In 1968, when hunting was banned and the eagles were put under protection orders, officials believe there were only around 800 pair left in Norway.
Their new choice of a nesting area is giving researchers a unique opportunity to carefully follow their movements and the progress of the baby eagles. Moe expects the two young eagles will be able to fly on their own out of the nest in around a month of two, and local officials hope the nest, built on a solid ledge, will be used “for many years ahead.”
The eagles can live to be around 50 years old and are the fourth-largest eagle species in the world, with a wing span of up to 265 centimeters.