A refuge for white-tailed eagles

30. November 2022

With an area of 54 km2, Rheinmetall’s test site at Unterlüss in northern Germany is the largest private sector proving ground for weapons and ammunition in Europe. It also harbours a unique ecosystem. The company does its utmost to safeguard and develop optimum habitats for the sites’s diverse flora and fauna. Many of the creatures living here are on the Red List of species threatened with extinction. New inhabitants frequently “move in” as well.

For a long time, the white-tailed eagle – the nation’s heraldic bird – was classified as extinct in Germany. But since the early 1990s, it has found a home once more at Unterlüss – occasionally even posing for spectacular photos. Here, in this strictly protected area of small lakes and rivers, the white-tailed eagle – which, with a wingspan of nearly two-and-a-half meters, is the largest bird of prey in Germany – finds ideal conditions. The pair of eagles currently in residence enjoys special protection at the Rheinmetall proving ground. During the breeding season, entering the area around the eyrie is strictly forbidden, and new trees are never planted there. Of course, the eaglets receive special attention. The young are ringed by official experts at Unterlüss, enabling their journeys to be tracked.

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