Golden Eaglet

Maria, my Scottish female Golden Eagle at six weeks old.

A superb relationship had developed between myself and Ivan, my adult male Golden Eagle. This relationship was forming as a pair bond in Ivan’s mind and he demonstrated this to me one day as I knelt down to tie his leash to the block ring.
Ivan hopped onto my back an tried to copulate with me, as an imprinted eagle his intention was to pair and breed with me.
This happened in the early 1970’s and falconers around the world were just starting to think of the possibilities of domestic breeding of hawks and falcons.
A few had a fair knowledge but generally the understanding of imprinting and breeding raptors was rudimental at best. I knew about artificial insemination and its possibilities for hawk propagation but very little about details. What I did know, was that I needed a female eagle for Ivan.

Most of my peers thought I was nuts, but I managed to persuade a few influential people to grant me the first government licence to take a Scottish eaglet for the purpose of breeding and falconry.

This picture is of Maria at six weeks of age growing up on my farm in Yorkshire. She spent most of her early weeks eating, sleeping and growing in the summer sunlight.