Today I gave a talk about Wedge-tailed Eagles to a fabulous group of 11 visitors and the DEC’s Nearer to Nature centre in Mundaring. I’ve done many similar such talks, but this one was made extra special by ‘Chips’ - a beautiful adult male Wedgie. Chips was brought in by his owners Dave and Jenny Pettet, who are extremely dedicated wildlife rehabilitators. One of the most important aspects of Dave and Jenny’s work is using their captive birds (which include several species of Australian raptor) to educate others about their biology. Raptors are uncommon birds seldom observed so seeing one up close has a large impact on adults and children alike.
Chips was brought out during the talk and was a fantastic live example of an eagle, making my job of describing eagle features very easy. He also captivated visitors by demonstrating how affectionate these birds are, tucking his head under Dave’s chin for comfort. Amazingly he also began watching the other ‘eagles’ in the room - those that appeared in various movie clips I showed in the presentation. An ever-alert eagle!
Below are some photos of Chips - you can see the relative size of him compared to David below. Note that Chips, being a male, is a small example of this species, with the females being about 10 cm taller, with much longer wingspan and are stockier overall.