Heartbreaking news emerges from Puolanka, Finland, as Jykä, the magnificent White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) closely monitored by BirdLife Finland since 2020, has met an untimely end. The eagle’s transmitter was found a week ago, seemingly removed with a bladed weapon. The bird itself has not yet been found. The police suspect a nature conservation crime and are asking for observations of the case.
Jykä was only the second adult sea eagle whose movements have been monitored in Finland through a satellite transmitter, which gave valuable scientific insights to BirdLife Finland’s team. Thousands of people were captivated by Jykä, following its adventures on BirdLife Finland’s website, magazine, and social media channels. The loss of the bird is grieved by many.
The story of Jykä started back in the spring of 2020, when it was found weak and wounded in Kuusamo. Thanks to diligent care and treatment, the eagle made a swift recovery and, with the generous support of BirdLife’s donors, was released into the wild equipped with a satellite transmitter. At the time, Jykä was estimated to be around seven years old and ready to reproduce.
During the following summer, Jykä wandered around Northern Finland and spent his winter in the region of Stockholm. A year later, the bird seemed to have chosen a territory, and when another adult sea eagle was spotted in the same area, BirdLife Finland assumed that Jykä had mated. However, no signs of nesting activities were found. In the summer of 2022, the same happened again and there was no breeding success. But there was no reason to worry as eagles of great longevity often spend time as an “engaged pair” before starting to nest. It is heartbreaking to now know that Jykä will never have chicks.
In previous years, Jykä’s solar cell-powered transmitter would fall silent during the winter months. However, this year, the anticipated springtime signals failed to arrive as expected. “I was very worried about the situation, and the disappointment was huge when I found the bird’s transmitter,” comments volunteer Jyrki Mäkelä. “I hope the police will find out who is responsible for Jykä’s death.”
Jykä held a special place in the hearts of many and BirdLife Finland is relentlessly pursuing justice to apprehend the culprit responsible for this tragic incident.
Cover picture: Jyrki Mäkelä
By BirdLife Finland