Is there anything more beautiful than seeing a majestic golden eagle soar above the rugged Scottish Highlands?

The stunning bird has long been used as a symbol of the country – on burial sites, in place names, and more recently in adverts – and thanks to a new RSPB campaign, it might soon gain official emblem status too.

The organisation hopes to protect the endangered creature by campaigning for it to be named Scotland’s national bird.

The charity has submitted a petition to Scottish Parliament asking for the magnificent animal to be listed alongside the lion rampant, saltire and Scottish thistle as a formally recognised symbol of the country.

“2013 is the Year of

Natural Scotland – a period where the Scottish Government is celebrating

our most impressive natural heritage,” said Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland.

“What better legacy can we provide

for this initiative than to officially designate the eagle as

Scotland’s national bird and join together for its future conservation?”

“It is a stirring symbol of strength and pride, qualities well befitting to a modern Scotland and its people.”

There are currently only 431 pairs of golden eagles in Scotland as the birds have been pushed back into the wildest corners of the country due to persecution.

The RSPB thinks that by giving the bird recognition, it will help raise its profile and protect it from extinction.

The group’s campaign is being fronted by wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan who developed a passion for the birds while growing up around them in Mull.

“The thrill of seeing a golden eagle soaring over a Scottish hillside is an unbeatable experience. For me they symbolise the wildest parts of Scotland and there is no other contender for Scotland’s national bird,” said Mr Buchanan.

“But golden eagles could and should be more common. Scots and visitors to Scotland shouldn’t hope that an eagle sighting is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; they should expect to see them regularly.”

To sign the petition visit the Scottish Parliament website.

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