Monday, 6 July 2015

A New Nest?

As the eagle breeding season approaches, I've been tracking the daily movements of our male wedgie Wallu, and paying particular attention to where he has roosted each night. In the last 2 weeks he has spent more than half of his nights at a particular tall gum-tree in a small patch of woodland about 700 m north-east of his favourite rabbit warren hunting place. This is shown by the cluster of GPS fixes in the above picture (click to enlarge). I have inspected this site a few times in the past year and discovered the perch tree is a tall Cue York Gum (Eucalyptus striaticalyx) with quite a few nice horizontal perches, perfect for eagles to land on. When not roosting at the actual tree, Wallu has still remained close by, spending every night within a 1 km radius of it. It has been interesting to observe a shift in his behaviour - over the summer period he often roosts in tall Gidgee trees on the high ridge that forms the northern border of his territory, close to his two existing nest sites, and only visits the Rabbit Ridge every few days.

The fact Wallu has spent an increasing amount of time in this area as Wedge-tailed Eagles are preparing to breed makes me think him and Wurru have built a new nest here. When I learned how often he visits the nearby rabbit warren, I did wonder why this pair persisted at attempting to breed (and subsequently failing) in nests which were so far from their apparent key source of food. It would make sense to build at a site much closer to an abundant and readily portable supply of prey. I am very much looking forward to visiting the territory later this year to see if my prediction is right!