The golden eagle Conan prepares to fly the nest

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A tearful farewell looms on the horizon as falconer Brian McCann prepares to hand over the golden eagle chick he has lovingly raised since hatching last May. Brian was the first person in Ireland to breed golden eagles through the process of artificial insemination, but now an adult Conan moves to a new home in Northern Ireland, much to his owner’s dismay.

“I will be a very sad moment to put it back and I will be heartbroken to see it go, and I tried to think of all the reasons why I should keep it,” he says. “No harm to the other birds that I have raised or kept, but Conan is the best eagle I have ever had, but if I kept him I would spend all my time with him and I wouldn’t have enough time. for them.

“They’re like kids and all have their little differences, and I’ve spent the most time with this little guy, but now is the time to say goodbye and focus on the others.”

He says he will be sad to see him go, but knows he’s going to a good house.

“The Northern Ireland Falconry School is taking him so I’m glad he’s going to see someone who’s really looking forward to him and I know he will take care of him as well as I do,” he adds. “I have seen so many rewards of breeding birds and now others will enjoy this magnificent specimen.”

The process of breeding a golden eagle by artificial means is miraculous, and people will be able to follow Conan’s life story so far thanks to local wildlife photographer and filmmaker Noel Marry, who produced the popular documentary. “Ireland’s Wild Ancient East” in 2019.

“I remember watching a Christmas short a few years ago, and it was wonderful, so he came to me and started filming my little bird from a young age until he was adult now, ”says Brian. “I’m delighted he’s going to make a documentary on Conan as he followed from the age of a few days until his first flight in the garden, and included my own photos and footage of the insemination and the Conan hatching from his egg. . “

Noel says being the first golden eagle bred in Ireland is always a special thing and that he was honored to be able to film this bird.

“It was also amazing to see Brian in action, and the way he trains and manages them; it’s simply unreal, ”explains Noel, who has photographed local wildlife such as pine martens, foxes and especially the majestic kingfisher for decades. the birds come first, and they’re like his children, and when Conan was born he wouldn’t let me into the nest in case I disturbed the mother!

Brian is originally from Dundalk and spent many years in the Co Louth Fire Department, before devoting himself full time to his birds of prey 16 years ago. It’s on www.newgrangefalconry.com.


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