Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Barn doors in Barnsley

This magnificent bird was shot in Barnsley on 8th December 1898. It is an immature White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla.
Standing at just under a metre tall, and with a wingspan of over two metres, they have sometimes been referred to as 'flying barn doors'.

People are often amazed that we have one from Barnsley but a hundred years ago they would have been a common sight. White-tailed Eagles used to call Yorkshire home but decades of persecution have left them extinct in England. I really hope one day we'll see them back but in the meantime this specimen is living (OK, not quite) proof of these birds' existence in Yorkshire.


Readers Comments

1 comment:

  1. Looking at this beautiful specimen it's hard to imagine why they would be persecuted as they were but at the time the link between shooting and collecting natural science was very close. An image of Charles Darwin which has been persistently ignored is that he did all his collecting with his shot gun. In fact, upon learning that he was to take the voyage on the Beagle the first thing he did was have commissioned a new pair of shot guns. There simply was not the moral and ethical issue towards this that there are nowadays and the country by the end of the nineteenth century had become the most powerful empire in the world on the strength of our exploitation of the natural world. Now, it certainly offers a powerful example of the effects of our past exploitation of the natural world.