Background Info

The majestic Golden Eagle is clearly identifiable with the glens, moors and mountains of Scotland, and is thoroughly, inextricably entwined with our history and culture.

For centuries, eagles have been included on our company logos and clan badges. They feature in place names, poetry and on ancient burial sites. Soaring majestically above the treetops, they capture the spirit of Scotland.

However, they could and should be more common. Scots and visitors to Scotland should not hope that an eagle sighting in a once in a lifetime experience; they should expect to see them regularly.  We need to strengthen our efforts to protect these birds in line with the Golden Eagle framework published in 2008 by SNH.
2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, a year where the Scottish Government is celebrating our natural heritage. This should leave a meaningful legacy for our wildlife, and what better legacy than to formally designate the eagle as a symbol of our nation. This would recognise the place eagles have in our cultures how our commitment to further conserving these beautiful creatures for generations to come and help restore their population to the natural level commensurate with the habitat they inhabit.

In 2004, RSPB Scotland supported a previous bid to declare the Golden Eagle the national bird of Scotland. During that attempt, the Enterprise and Culture Committee concluded that it could take no action because there was not a formal process for creating such a symbol. Currently there is also a petition for the designation of a national tree (PE01457).
The response to the petitioner has been that the Scottish Government should take action this year, given that it has the powers to do so.
From researching the process of designation of cultural symbols in other nations and states, we suggest the following courses of action the Scottish Government could take on this matter.

Firstly, the National bird of Scotland could be created via a short bill. This action was taken by the United States when they declared the Oak tree to be the American National Tree in 2007. Additionally, many states have designated symbols in this way, such as the state of Texas, which chose the Northern Mocking bird as its state bird in 1927.

Secondly, there could be a motion laid in parliament declaring the Golden Eagle to be the national bird. If supported by a majority of MSPs this could act as a clear declaration.

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