Chasing Eagles

Published: 22 Jan 2014

Author: Stewart Miller
Chasing Eagles

Eagle conservationist Stewart Miller, from Blairgowrie, Perthshire, has recently returned from a seven week expedition to Mongolia and China where he was searching for rare eagles. Stewart was awarded a Travel Fellowship grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to study the migration of the Imperial eagle of eastern Siberia.

Eastern Imperial Eagles are threatened with extinction, and studies have shown that problems are occurring during the migration phase rather than at the birds’ breeding grounds in Siberia.

Using data gathered from satellite transmitters as well as local knowledge and observations by local partners, Stewart was able to track and study the eagles as they made their way through Mongolia to the Yunnan province in the South of China.

During his journey Stewart, who is director of Scottish wildlife charity International Raptor Research and Conservation, also spent time with the horse-riding Kazakh eagle hunters, who use golden eagles to hunt foxes and hare in the Altai mountains in Mongolia.

He said, “My work often involves looking at eagle behaviour, and to be able to go and experience what the eagles experience was a huge step towards understanding the challenges they are facing.”

The results of the study will be published and sent to both Russian and Chinese governments to put the case for establishing more protected areas for this rare eagle species.

A follow-up expedition is now being planned to carry out an ongoing tracking project in Siberia using new GSM transmitters. These use mobile phone technology to retrieve data, effectively allowing text messages to be sent giving the eagle’s coordinates. 

Stewart will use his experience to teach others here and abroad about eagle conservation. He will be giving educational talks to groups and schools, and it is hoped that pupils will be able to track eagles online in future projects.

For more information:

Stewart Miller: stewart@irrc.org.uk