More Wedge-tailed Eagles
For over 26 years I’ve kept a month by month list of the birds seen in our garden, on our five acre block or flying overhead. In that time I’ve only recorded Wedge-tailed Eagles on a handful of occasions, despite the fact that they are relatively common and widespread in the region in which I live.
That seems to be changing recently. I saw one flying high over head a few weeks ago – read about it here. Then last Saturday we were entertaining some friends around our swimming pool when another one flew low over our neighbour’s garden. We had good views as it soared back and forth looking for a meal.
My latest sighting was yesterday morning. My wife was walking in our driveway and saw two Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring overhead. This is the first time I can recall seeing two at once over our place. They glided on the thermals for about five minutes before moving out of sight over the nearby hills. I had excellent views through my binoculars, but they were a little too far off for good photos. Instead, I’ve included a photo of a WT Eagle taken during the Free Flight Bird Show at Taronga Zoo in Sydney early last year.
Reflecting on these recent sightings I concluded that there may be a link between the appearance of these birds and rabbits. Until a year or so ago, we never saw any rabbits around here because of a virus. They have now become partially resistant to this virus and are breeding up in large numbers. We have several baby rabbits residing in our garden. This increased breeding has been aided by a much wetter than usual winter and spring last year, and there is still plenty of food available for them.
Now how do I encourage the eagles to visit regularly and partake of these meals on four legs?
Inland birds seem to be benefitting from all the water around at the moment. Do you anticipate seeing large flocks of birds in the next few months as the floods work their way down the inland rivers?
Not really, but I’m unsure as to what will actually happen. Comments on birding chatlines over recent months indicate that water birds are around in vastly smaller numbers. That might seem strange but the reason is logical. When we had drought conditions, water was concentrated in only a few localities. Since to widespread rains, every river, creek, dam, reservoir and waterhole is full, so ducks and other water birds have plenty of choices and have dispersed over vast areas, lessening the former concentration.
Mind you, conditions are great for much higher levels of breeding, so numbers will increase exponentially in coming months, especially as Lake Eyre fills. I remember the enormous numbers of Pelicans, for example, breeding there in 1974. As the water evaporated and food sources disappeared, they dispersed throughout Australia, many of the younger ones perishing in the process.
[…] zoo. Before we finish up our bird section we should mention that the two offspring from the pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles (Aquila audax) who nest regularly on Mt Tarrangower have now left the nest. They may well be […]