Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (https://www.simoncherriman.com.au/). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Saturday 8 April 2023

My (Parkerville) Garden Path


It was super exciting to have been able to share some of my family's wonderful Perth Hills story that shaped my personal journey in life via Gardening Australia's 'My Garden Path' segment on last night's show! Thank you to Millie (presenter on GA), David (producer), Jon (camera), Chris (sound) and all the wonderful ABC staff for creating this fabulous opportunity!

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Australia's Wild Odyssey

It was a thrill to see the final episode of Wild Pacific Media's 3-part series 'Australia's Wild Odyssey' go to air on ABC TV last night! The above clip shows a short snippet from the section featuring my Wedge-tailed Eagle research, but you can watch the full length of Episode 3 (and the rest of the series) by visiting the ABC iView website here. My heartfelt thanks to Nick and all the Wild Pacific crew for the opportunity to share some stories about eagles to a wider audience than I'm normally used to!

Saturday 19 November 2022

An Eagle in Passing

I was so heartened to hear this Caring for Country story from the Pilbara recently…

Horace Bynder and Julian Nott came across this poor, ragged adult female Wedge-tailed Eagle who was grounded near a roadside earlier this year and knew straight away something was wrong. They saw her ruffled feathers, were concerned about the dingos skulking nearby, and decided to help. Although half the size of a person and capable of inflicting severe wounds, this powerful apex predator showed the gentle, placid side all eagles have and allowed the men to catch her (using a stick for her talons to grip onto) and persuade her to sit in the back seat of their vehicle. Incredible! They then drove for more than two hours to Port Hedland where she was taken to a vet for a health check. She appeared fine with no broken bones or internal injuries, was given fluid and expert care while in captivity, and was cleared for release the next day. But overnight she drifted peacefully into a permanent soaring dream, her spirit kindly declining these amazing men’s gesture to return her home. 

Why did she die? How was it that such a beautiful bird found herself alone and adrift? Why was she not at her age (10++) settled in a breeding home range with food and a strong bond to a mate?

We know so little about many aspects of these amazing birds’ life cycle. There are many possible ways her story might’ve unfolded. Could she have been attacked, by another eagle, another creature? She may have been old, weak, have left or been driven from a stable territory, or perhaps she never occupied one in the first place? She may have for a decade or several wandered this vast continent, living life as a nomad, wild and free, riding the wind and feeding on the ample supply of carrion Australia’s harshness, and it’s human population, produces each year. We will never know; part of that fact is beautiful, part of it sad. But one part of her story we do know, and that is this:

She moved to another world in a gentle and peaceful way, thanks to the efforts of a couple of bloody decent Australian blokes who decided to try and help a majestic creature down on her luck. They dropped their work (with approval from their boss, who was clearly an awesome bloke too), put her well-being at the top of their priority list, then undertook a very difficult task, safely capturing her and willingly embarking on a round-trip rescue several hundred kilometres long. It didn’t end the way they hoped, but it ended peacefully. This story nearly wasn’t told because others at the time decided a ‘happy’ ending, one of survival, was the only justification for publicity. But is a peaceful passing and a tale of two remarkably kind-hearted humans not a happy one?

Australian’s for nearly a century disposed of these gigantic, majestic predators; our colonially-rooted culture despised them. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered like flies. Knocked off. Wilfully wasted. There are still some naive and arrogant folk who hold these old-skool, archaic views, purely because they don’t understand this land properly, despite calling themselves ‘Aussies’. They don’t accept it for the giant, living, breathing, breath-taking assortment of cells, veins, arteries and organs that it is. A body battling with and fighting back with all it can muster the waves of viruses, colds and cancers Western culture has thrown at it. Many Australians, especially young men, are so ignorant of wildlife - a result of the urban upbringings our young people increasingly experience in a country with a largely peripheral population - that their care-factor is zero. But there are those, like Horace and Julian, whose isn’t. Men like this - REAL men - give us immense hope that a fresh attitude is possible.

Be inspired by this folks. Our land not only benefits from such an attitude. Now, more than ever, it needs it.

Thanks to Julian for telling me and giving me permission to re-tell this story, and to use your wonderful pictures.

Thursday 21 October 2021


 I'm THRILLed to announce that after many, many years in the making, my Nest-box/Tree-hollow book is very close to completion! "Hollowed Out?" is a story about the journey hollow-dependent fauna living in south-west Western Australia have endured, and how nest-boxes not only help these important animals survive, but foster custodianship for them into the future. It contains a wealth of information about habitat trees, the hollows they form, how human activities have impacted and continue to impact these precious natural resources, and, most importantly, the most up-to-date designs for a range of wildlife nest-boxes you can build in your backyard!

I had hoped to time the launch of this book with my appearance on the ABC TV programme Gardening Australia, which aired on Friday 22nd October as part of National Bird Week (you can watch this story, named 'Bird Box', by clicking here). But as often happens with creative projects, a few delays emerged so it wasn't ready in time. 

After the initial launch of a paperback book, "Hollowed Out?" will be launched as an e-Book, to allow a fast, green way of getting it out there as far as possible! 

Friday 16 October 2020

MORE nest-boxes for Porongurup Carnaby's Cockatoos

If you saw the 2018 news post containing an update on the success of our Carnaby's Cockatoo nest-boxes in the Porongurups, you might be as thrilled as we are to know that a recent grant provided by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife has seen FIVE more cockatoo boxes added to this breeding site! The latest installation brings the total number of cockatoo breeding sites now available to 12: one natural tree-hollow and 11 nest-boxes. I have just returned from the Porongurups after installing the new boxes and was excited to have observed female Carnaby's Cockatoos emerge from two of the existing nest-boxes, suggesting incubation has already begun for two pairs. At the end of 2019, all seven sites were occupied and five pairs fledged chicks. With five new, vacant sites now available, we are looking forward to seeing how many pairs of this precious, Endangered species breed in 2020!

To see a video documenting the early success of nest-boxes at this site, which includes footage of the cockatoos and a beautiful nestling, click here.


One of the newly installed nest-boxes for Carnaby's Cockatoo in the Porongurup Range.

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Waalitj Boodja

I was recently accompanied on a Waalitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle colour-banding mission by two very special people: my friend and bush photography companion Andy, and his young niece Eia, an incredibly talented artist whose enthusiasm to help the environment saw her design, produce and sell some unique 'eagle cards' to raise money towards my eagle research. Eia had heard all about my visits to eagle eyries in the Perth Hills and I had long promised to take her to one. Fortunately Andy is also a highly accomplished filmmaker, which allowed this short snapshot of the colour-banding component of my research to be produced and shared with others. Please visit Andy's website and Youtube channel to view and endorse more of his work, and you might wish to follow Eia's work on here on Instagram. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Hack and Counterpoint

This past week has been another busy one with regard to media interest in the East Gippsland eagle poisoning, and I've been glad to provide information in interviews on two ABC programs that have recently gone to air.

It was great speaking to Amanda Vanstone on her Radio National show Counterpoint which was played yesterday, because there was plenty of time to provide important background information about eagle biology which is relevant to the poisoning episodes. If you visit this link and fast forward to 41:30, you can hear the discussion.

I also had a chat to Tom Tilly on Triple J's Hack program last week, which felt a little daunting because it went live to air! But again there was enough time to make the key points necessary and I was very pleased that most people who called in to the show were sympathetic to eagles and saw the need to protect them. You can read this article by Jo Lauder, which also contains a link to the list of previous shows, or you can go straight to the "Driverless cars, platonic friendships and why farmers are baiting Wedge-tailed Eagles" episode.

Friday 22 June 2018

Kalamunda Eagle Extravaganza

Last night I delivered the reward to the City of Kalamunda for their pledge to last year's 'Where's Wailitj' crowdfund, in the form of a public presentation and workshop on the FULL suite of Wailitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle information in my vault! It was exciting to arrive early at the venue and build a life-size Wedge-tailed Eagle nest, then have Noongar elder Dr. Noel Nannup arrive to be in some photos and open the evening by presenting a wonderful Welcome to Country. Yvonne from the WA Birds of Prey Centre also swooped in for a quick visit with Micro, an adult male eagle who delighted the children attending with his affectionate nature and willingness to allow them to get up close and personal.

It was wonderful to be sent the following feedback letter, written to the City by some very happy participants. I am always thrilled to receive such feedback, because my talks often have so much in them and the time goes so quickly, so it's not easy to know how they have been received.

Keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook pages for information on future public presentations.

"Good evening,

Please convey my utmost thanks and sincerest congratulations to all staff from the City of Kalamunda who were involved in organising and presenting the Eagle Extravaganza. My two grandsons will never forget the day they were able to have an eagle stand on their wrist then stroke its chest. Please extend our thanks to the lady who was the eagle handler.

Noel Nannup had us in the palm of his hand as he spoke of his Ancestors and  Country. Simon Cherriman was an inspiration with his passionate stories of our beautiful local eagles and their lives as well as his deep interest in our Natural Environment  and our Indigenous people. Afternoon tea was bountiful and very welcome after school on a winter's day. All in all we were inspired as well as entertained as Simon offered his incredible insight into the life cycle of our great wedge tailed eagles.

Congratulations to all involved. Many thanks to the City of Kalamunda Environmental Staff,

Sue, Jack and Max" 

A life-sized Wedge-tailed Eagle nest, made from scratch for the Eagle Extravaganza.