Monday, 8 July 2013

Gidjee in a nest – but nest in a gidgee!

By visiting some of the favoured roost trees of our two eagles, we have been able to see on-ground what these places look like, giving us a good idea of the birds’ reasons for being there. We discovered a couple of weeks ago that Gidjee was frequently roosting quite close to a small patch of gum trees inside the fenced enclosure, and the reason for this was she and her mate Mulga had built a new nest here. I could tell by its good condition that this nest had been newly constructed and was most likely the site at which Gidjee and Mulga would breed this year.
However, today I know my predictions were wrong.

The above tracking data shows Gidjee’s behaviour over the last few days has contracted to a small spot on a ridge overlooking the fenced enclosure. On the 2nd, 3rd and 4th July she spent most of each day at this location, only moving away a few times. This behaviour aligns with her making the final preparations at a nest by adding fresh leaves to the nest cavity, and spending more time there prior to laying. Considering we are expecting her to be laying eggs soon, we would assume she would be closing in on Nest 63, if this was her chosen nest in the 2013 breeding season. Apparently it isn’t!
I can now see that Gidjee and Mulga must have another nest, one we have not yet located, on the ridge, and THIS is where she is breeding! Being situated in this prominent location means the nest is almost certainly in a gidgee tree, hence the title of this blog post. Since the three days shown above, almost all the daily fixes have occurred at this same point, with Gidjee only leaving the nest briefly during late morning or mid afternoon, probably to receive a meal from Mulga (male wedge-tails usually feed their females on the nest during incubation). Each time we get a fix on her being away from the nest for some time, this almost certainly means her mate is incubating the eggs while she takes a break. Such is the cooperation present between well-bonded adult Wedge-tailed Eagles.

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