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A tribute to John Love


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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Roy Dennis was at John Love’s funeral in Inverness yesterday, 6th November. There was a big turnout of family and friends, his colleagues in nature conservation and sea eagles, and many islanders from the Hebrides. His family asked Roy to give the tribute to his friend at the service. It is printed in full below.

We have lost a dear friend; we have lost a true Highlander – a genuinely lovely person – a naturalist, historian and story teller. And the Sea Eagles have lost their long-standing champion.

I first met John when I was in my 20’s at Loch Garten and he was a schoolboy birdwatcher in Inverness; ever since he’s been a friend, our meetings might miss a year but any new conversation we had was as if we had met the previous evening! He was kind and thoughtful and valued his friendships with people in nature, history, culture, music, and especially with islands.

John ran the sea eagle reintroduction project on the island of Rum from 1975 to 1986; a tremendously exciting venture but we must remember his day-to-day hard work of finding food for the birds, cutting it up and taking it to the remote cages, often in the worst of weathers. Of course there were the highlights of the year – of visiting his friends in Norway to collect the young eagles, flying with them on the RAF Nimrods back to Scotland, exploring the islands searching for the first breeding pair – I remember a week sailing around Skye, the small isles and the Shiants on a yacht (amazingly paid for by the government) with John and his colleagues Morton Boyd, Peter Tilbrook and Martin Ball of the Nature Conservancy.

His two superb books – The Return of the Sea Eagle and later A Saga of Sea Eagles – are testament to his hard work, enthusiasm, research and his ability as an author. He wrote other books including about Rum and the Natural History of Lighthouses. He was often involved with tv, radio and newsprint on a subject they often knew little about and he helped them get good stories; I remember him telling me about a newspaper reporter who phoned ahead to ask if John ‘could be photographed with an eagle chick perched on his finger!’

We sorely miss John but for me, and I’m sure John’s other friends, when next and whenever we see sea eagles in the sky we will remember him – a lasting memorial above our heads. Thank you, John.


John Love (right) with Roy Dennis at a sea eagle nest at Bodo, Norway, June 1984

Podcast with John Love from 2019​

You might also like to listen to our podcast, recorded in 2019, in which Roy Dennis and John Love discuss the early days of the Scottish reintroduction.

The post A tribute to John Love appeared first on Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.
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