Saturday, 22 June 2013

Invaders?



This morning I collected a motion-sensing camera which I had set up on the kangaroo carcass we used to catch Wallu just over a week ago. The 'roo had now been dragged out of the trap and the trap closed, to ensure we didn't catch any other eagles. Setting the camera up had indeed paid off - it gave us the first close glimpse at Wallu with his transmitter we've had since we released him!

This video shows Wallu's mate Wurru feeding at the carcass, then looking up and calling softly as he dropped down from the perch to join her, offering the camera a good glimpse of his PTT (shown circled in the picture above). You can see he's still very wary - the last time he fed on this carcass he was caught by some researchers!

Then something really interesting happens. Wurru is disturbed by something, looking skyward and running out of shot before taking off. Wallu soon follows, and only minutes later, a THIRD eagle lands to investigate the carcass! This one is a sub-adult male. You can see this from his much paler nape (neck feathers) and more golden wing-bar that he is a younger bird, and his sex is revealed by his relative size (smaller than the female), and shorter head and bill. There is also a Willie Wagtail in shot - but somehow I don't think he is the reason the eagles flew away :-D




Eagles Caught on Camera from Simon Cherriman on Vimeo.

Is this bird an invader? Why does his presence disturb Wallu and his mate so much? Maybe they left instantly to defend their territory. And maybe Wallu's relationship is being tested by the presence of a younger, more hansom male! We will find out further into the breeding season if Wallu remains in his territory and fathers offspring. More updates soon!

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