Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). 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!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Fluffy whites

These are the first Wedge-tailed Eagle chicks to hatch this year! Although it's hard to see the second one, which is tucked up beneath it's sibling, this nest proves that both eggs laid have successfully hatched. The next challenge is one of survival - will one eaglet fledge, or both? In 10 years of monitoring eagle nesting in the Perth region, only about 10% of nests fledge both eaglets. The second egg is laid as an 'insurance policy', in case one egg is infertile. The abundance of food and behaviour of siblings (sometimes the older attacks the younger, sometimes the two get on fine) will influence this outcome.

While walking back from the nest in this territory yesterday, I spied this Shining Bronze Cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus) zip over my head and land in a nearby Wandoo sapling. This adult was carrying a large caterpillar and I watched as it smashed it on the branch and ate its fill. What a great meal - equivalent to me eating a chocolate bar the size of my leg! Adult cuckoos are currently on the prowl, searching for nests of the many small songbirds which breed in the eagle valley. Granite outcrops and their surrounding heaths are very diverse in plants, and consequently they can support a huge range of small nesting birds. If you are a parasitic cuckoo, this is great news! You can read more about cuckoo parasitism in this post.

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