AN Aberdeenshire estate is appealing for information following the discovery of a dead golden eagle on its land in March.

Invercauld Estate, near Braemar, issued the appeal following a Police Scotland search of the local area.

Estate manager at Invercauld, Angus McNicol, said: “We have been informed by the police that the bird that was found contained pesticide. We are very disturbed indeed to learn that a bird of prey has been found on Invercauld in these circumstances.

“We wholeheartedly support the appeal about this bird and anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101 urgently. Naturally we are offering our cooperation to the police as they conduct their inquiries and hope they are able to identify anyone who is involved.

“The area where the bird was found is on a let farm in an area which is managed for sheep farming and is on the edge of an area of native woodland regeneration. It is not managed for driven grouse shooting. Within the last two weeks, we have had to call the police to report an incident of damage to gamekeeping equipment and another of anti-social behaviour on a wetland habitat and this more recent report is a further serious concern for us. Given the relative proximity of the location to houses and the A93 main road, we are hopeful that a member of the public may have seen something which might help the investigation.”

Invercauld Estate is well known for a wide range of rare birds. Research undertaken by the estate in 2020 identified 1117 pairs of the most endangered bird species breeding there, including 33 pairs of raptors across six different species. Invercauld is also one of the last breeding locations for capercaillie in Deeside.

Mr McNicol continued: “So much of what we do at Invercauld is about conservation so this news is particularly distressing. Staff and contractors are actively involved in activities that help conserve many species in the estate’s valleys, woodlands, moorland and montane habitats. We pride ourselves in the biodiversity this creates and this news is therefore especially disheartening.

“We are committed to our conservation work on the estate and would like to see this incident investigated as thoroughly and quickly as possible.”

Scottish Land and Estates also backed the appeal for information. Chief executive Sarah Jane Laing said: “Following Police Scotland’s visit to the estate, we are again appealing for any information that may help with this investigation. Everyone should do all they can to assist in detecting and eradicating wildlife crime, and the discovery of a dead bird in suspicious circumstances must be investigated fully and the facts established urgently. We would appeal for anyone with information to contact the police on 101.”