At the age of fourteen Maria started to think of bonding with me and the first I knew of her intentions was through her spectacular aerial displays she started performing for me.
Sadly by now Ivan had past away, but eagle falconry was more popular now than when I first started, and there were a number of other eagle falconers in the country, some with male eagles.
This was not my first concern as I released Maria into an indoor enclosure, after scouring the hillside for suitable nest building material we both set about learning how to build an eyrie.
In time a large structure developed with a soft pine needle lined bowl where after a long agonising wait Maria laid her very first egg.
Of course these first eggs were infertile, but I encouraged her to incubate whilst I hunted for suitable eyas hawks for her to learn to brood and rear.
Common Buzzards and Redtail Hawks were the most suitable due to their size and availability at the right time. Maria reared a good number over the early years as I franticly searched for viable golden eagle semen.
This photograph shows her with two Common Buzzard eyasses given to me by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.