A PLAN being hatched by conservationists could see sea eagles flying over the Severn Estuary for the first time in 150 years.

Eagle Reintroduction Wales, a Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust project, is working with the Gwent Wildlife Trust to find out what the public thinks of reintroducing the White-Tailed Eagle into the wild.

A series of drop-in meetings will be held in Chepstow, Magor and Lydney to encourage support for the project and to identify and resolve any concerns.

People will also be able to complete an online survey to give their opinions.

Dr Sophie-Lee Williams, ERW’s Founder and Project Officer leading the research, said: “A key focus of this questionnaire is to capture and understand the current awareness, knowledge and attitudes to White-tailed Eagles and their return to Wales, why opinions vary and whether they differ between communities. 

“Taking part will help inform decisions regarding the future return of White-tailed Eagles to Wales.”

The birds, which have a wingspan of up to 240cms (nearly eight feet), were last seen over the Severn in the late 19th century.

They were driven to extinction in the UK in the early part of the 20th century but were reintroduced and can now be seen across northern Scotland and the coasts of southern England and East Anglia.

While found across a wide range, today breeding as far west as Greenland and Iceland across to as far east as Japan they are often scarce and spottily distributed as a nesting species, mainly due to human activities.

They are versatile and opportunistic hunters and carrion feeders, sometimes pirating food from other birds and even otters.

They eat largely fish, but also take various birds, rabbits and hares.

When fishing, they fly low over water, stop to hover for a moment and drop to snatch fish from the surface.

The drop-in sessions are at the Derek Upton Centre, Magor Marsh on Thursday, May 9, from 11am-2.30pm; Lydney Community Centre, Nass Lane on Saturday, June 8; and the Palmer Centre, Place de Cormeilles, Chepstow on Saturday, July 27, both between 1pm and 4.30pm.

The survey is at : www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/WTEPublicOpinionSurvey/ and is open until August.

For more information visit www.eaglereintroductionwales.com