THE CELEBRITY among Slovak birds, the lesser spotted eagle known as Arnold, has become a father of two, after a complicated story resembling a soap opera.

Arnold, fitted with a solar transmitter enabling experts and the general public to track his whereabouts, flew through the warzone in Syria last September as part of his migratory route to Africa last autumn. He survived the trip and returned to Slovakia in early spring.

However, Arnold got back to his Slovak nesting site slightly later than his former mate, who, before his arrival, had already found another partner. Arnold fought the couple for his old nest, and won. But after finding a new mate, he abandoned the nest and built another.

The extreme windstorm that struck Slovakia in May, damaging 2 million trees, even toppled the tree next to the one where Arnold settled, but his nest remained unharmed.

In early July, the head of the administration of the Tatra National Park (TANAP) natural reserve, Pavol Majko, informed the TASR newswire that they had noticed a change in Arnold’s behaviour and after observing him for many hours, the tiny head of a baby eagle was seen just over the nest’s rim. Several days later, professional protectionists from TANAP discovered a second sibling.

Lesser spotted eagles usually have two children, but cainism, wherein the older and stronger chick constantly attacks the younger one, is frequent, and often only one of them leaves the nest, Majko explained. Cases when two young eagles are raised successfully are very rare.