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!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Kwidi


If you've been following my Instagram feed, you've probably seen the range of photos captured from the tree hide I constructed last month to observe a late-hatching Wailitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle chick in the Perth Hills, whose nest is pictured above. My first glimpse of this eaglet, which I would later find out was a female, was in November when she was a month old and her flight feathers had only just emerged.


When I did my first hide stint a few weeks later, the eaglet had made a rapid transformation from almost entirely white to about half chocolate-brown. Eaglets are normally very vocal at the sight of their parents, and virtually mute at other times, but even when her parents were absent (which, at the age of six weeks, was often), this girl called almost incessantly, her loud, two-noted yelps filling my eardrums. It was wonderful to observe her mother feeding her small pieces of Yoorn / Bobtail Skink (Tiliqua rugosa) that the male delivered early one morning, and I was very happy to obtain some video footage that will be useful for my next documentary.



Today's mission, however, was to ascend to this nest, remove the eaglet (who was now 10 weeks old) for a brief period to weigh, measure, colour-ring and satellite-tag her, then place her back as she was found. I was slightly nervous as I scaled a climbing rope high into the canopy to reach the eyrie, which was about 25 m above the forest floor. The juvenile eagle greeted me in the way that most do: with a 'threat display' that includes spread out wings and a gaping, sometimes drooling mouth, an expression that says: "I'm going to kill you, so stay back!"

"Welcome to my eyrie... now I keeeeel you!"

I was lucky to be joined on this 'eagle day' by a variety of helpers and onlookers, one of whom was my old friend and expert photographer Judy Dunlop, who managed to captured some great memories of how the afternoon unfolded, including this eye-level canopy shot of the 'capture moment'...



Back on terra firma, my partner Danielle did a wonderful job of calmly holding the eagle as I took measurements. It was a thrill to have Trish Fleming, one of my PhD supervisors, with me to help fit her with colour-rings. So much effort goes into planning and supervising doctoral research, so sharing moments in the field with those people who give monumental 'behind the scenes' support is especially rewarding.

Trish holds the colour-ring closed as I prepare to fix it with a pop-rivet.


Another person whose presence was a special blessing was Noongar woman Alison Murphy, who came along to meet the eagle and give her a Noongar name. Alison's father Noel Nannup named one of our 2016 birds 'Yirrabiddi', who is still flying around inland Western Australia, so it was great to introduce another member of the Nannup family to another member of the Wailitj one!

Alison Murphy attaches the final rivet to the eagle's colour-ring while Dani holds her.


Once we had finished taking measurements and fitting the colour-rings, it was time to accomplish the main aim of the mission and attach the satellite transmitter. If you've read other posts on this intricate procedure, you'll know it is done using a cardboard template which holds the Telfon harness straps in place while they are stitched. Dani continued her expert handling and seemed to give off soft, calming vibes that cast a spell on our subject, which made the tagging process straightforward and stress-free.


After observing the eagle's calm and placid behaviour during the ringing and tagging process, Alison decided the Noongar word 'kwidi', which means patiently waiting, would make a fitting name. Having spent so much time patiently waiting in my tree hide to observe her behaviour over the past few weeks, I agreed wholeheartedly! With the stitching on her transmitter harness complete, Kwidi was gently placed back in the handling bag and hoisted home.

Kwidi would be the 22nd and final juvenile eagle I had fitted with a transmitter for this current research project. What an amazing feeling to have completed a huge part of my PhD fieldwork! I plan to return soon after Christmas to make more hide observations, and spend more time in the canopy, patiently waiting.

It is always wonderful to be accompanied in the field by a bunch of great people.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Patiently Waiting


This beautiful Wailitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle is quite young (only 2-3 years old), and as most eagles do not enter the breeding population until they are about six, it is relatively unusual to observe a male of his age at a nest. I snapped the above photo from the top of a tree that I had scaled to see into his nest and age the chick, and by chance he suddenly landed on the nest for a brief moment, just long enough for a portrait. It was only seconds before he saw me and departed swiftly.

His mate had landed in a nearby tree and responded to my presence in completely the opposite way to her younger 'boyfriend,' perching in the sun and showing no apparent shyness. This is only the second time in over 15 years I have encountered a female Wedge-tail who is so bold; Aquila eagles are normally very shy indeed and fly away before you can get within 500 m of them!

 

The male's suspicious expression was a giveaway that I'd been 'sprung', and although the female seemed to tolerate me, I knew that to capture perfectly natural behaviour would require a much more hidden approach.


It only took a few hours to erect a platform in the canopy of a Marri sapling close to the nest, made by fastening two solid planks to the upright limbs and using a small tent as a hide. This was completed last week, then I left the eagles alone for a while to adjust to the new addition to their arboreal environment.


Last week I entered the hide and made my first attempt at photography. The first two days were super exciting, with the eagles having accepted the hide and carrying on with their amazing nesting activities right in front of me. There were very long periods of waiting, however, and on some occasions I suffered pretty severe back pain. Being 6'8" isn't very helpful for being folded into a tent that is less than 1 m2 in area! You will have noticed from my Instagram posts though that the hide stints yielded some great moments. This photo of the juvenile eagle licking her beak in anticipation of being fed half a Karda / Gould's Goanna (Varanus gouldii) was by far one of my hiding highlights!


This afternoon's session, which began about 5 am and ended well after sunset, gave me some particularly big challenges. Strong winds have been present all week but the gusts that rose up after about 9 am today seemed to be intent on shaking all the trees off the hillside. At times I thought the whole tree might blow over! As the Marri leaves behind the nest began to glow brighter with back-light from the sinking sun, however, the wind slowly lost its breath. And just before sunset, the gorgeous male arrived at the nest with the hind-quarters of yet another Karda. It was beautiful to see a bird whom I knew was super shy feeding his fast-growing daughter, knowing he had no idea the same lens that focused on his youth not long ago was still present. I'm looking forward to more hide stints soon, and eventually to satellite-tagging this eaglet before she takes to the air.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Another Carnaby's Chick


It was a thrill today to see another Gnolyenok / Carnaby's Cockatoo chick peering up at me from inside one of the cockatoo boxes in a local reserve in Mundaring, the third of its kind to be successfully raised in the past three years. These endangered birds were first recorded breeding in 2015, when the Shire of Mundaring supported the installation of a suite of nest-boxes for a post-bushfire recovery program.

Earlier this week I was fortunate to visit the reserve with the WA Musuem, local Friends Group coordinator Ron Coloquhoun, Mundaring Shire Environmental Officer Jolene Wallington, and other community volunteers, to see this precious creature fitted with an ABBBS leg-band. This harmless tag will help researchers identify it in the future, maybe even when it is feeding its own offspring in a local nest-box! Fingers crossed we have many more moments like this to look forward to in the future!

Jolene holds the Carnaby's Cockatoo nestling during banding, while her daughter Emma watches on.

Friday, 1 December 2017

PorongurUpdate


It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since I installed my first Black Cockatoo nesting box on my friend Jeff's block in the Porongurup Range! Today Jeff and I celebrated this anniversary by paying a quick visit to the block and checking this box, as well as the five others that have been installed at the property since 2010, all of which have been part of increasingly successful breeding. by Gnolyenok / Carnaby's Cockatoo. We were thrilled to find Carnaby's Cockatoos in every box! The two most recently installed boxes, which went up in May this year as part of a Birdlife WA and South Coast NRM educational workshop, both had heavily chewed entrances, tell-tale signs of prospecting (and usually occupancy) by Black Cockatoos.

A large vertical box installed in May with a newly hatched Carnaby's Cockatoo chick.

These findings give me such a thrill because they prove the design of my large vertical nest-boxes is effective, and also that newly installed boxes can become occupied so readily when placed at known breeding sites.

Three cockatoo chicks were banded as part of an ongoing WA Museum study on their movements and survival, an exciting addition to the study that Jeff and I have been carrying out on the breeding of Carnaby's Cockatoo in the Porongurup range. It was amazing to see these birds so close, and heartwarming to think of the beautiful moment when they will make their first flight into the Karri canopy and beyond!

This Threatened cockatoo chick hatched inside a nest-box made from rubbish!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Djoorabiddi & The Project


Last month I had the privilege of taking a small group of people to visit a beautiful eagle eyrie in a remote part of the Perth Hills. This included Jo Manning from Murdoch University's public relations department, and Thom and Darrell from Channel 10's 'The Project', who (very excitingly!) were tagging along (pardon the pun!) to film some of my fieldwork to fit a GPS/Satellite transmitter to a juvenile Wailitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle. The bird I managed to catch on his nest was a very calm, placid young boy, who was given the name 'Djoorabiddi' by Noongar lady Alison Murphy. This word is derived from 'djoorab' = good natured/happy, & means 'go foward happily'. Alison's father Noel last year named my beautiful Parkerville eagle 'Yirrabiddi' (path/journey in the sky), so it was truly magic to have a journey theme connecting these two Nannup-derived names!!

The story of how we fitted Djoorabiddi with a satellite transmitter was played last night on the Sunday Project, who kindly gave me the below copy to post here. This clip features some stunning aerial footage shot by my friend Andrew Moore, who expertly showcases the Aerial Environment in which these majestic eagles dwell. Keep your eyes on the Wedge-tailed Eagle Tracking website for updates on Djoorabiddi's progress, and the movements of other juvenile Wedge-tails from the Perth Hills and further a field. Enjoy!


Friday, 24 November 2017

Sign of the Seasons

 
Today there was an official celebration of the completion of Sawyers Valley Primary School's Nature Play area, a project which has been coordinated and delivered by the school's Natural Resource Management team, thanks to a State NRM grant. I've been privileged to be part of this project and participated in recording local fauna, taking guided walks for students and parents, and contributing photographs for interpretive signs that emphasise the area's cultural and environmental values. It was great to see the above Noongar Seasons sign installed today (just in the nick of time before the project finished!), which featured a variety of photographs of Perth Hills wildlife from my photo gallery. Thanks to the NRM team for the invitation to be part of such a great environmental initiative.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Leonora Eagles


I've just returned from WA's Goldfields region where I completed the arid zone component of my Wedge-tailed Eagle Tracking research for 2017, satellite-tagging two more Matuwa-born Wedge-tailed Eagles. After this fieldwork had been completed, I was very excited to drive south and spend a day on country with a group of Leonora District High School students, an environmental educational activity arranged by the CSIRO's Science Pathways program. We found five eagle nests along some stunning breakaway country that I was privileged to be shown by teacher Fifi Harris. My friend Dave from CSIRO made a wonderful short film about the day which you can watch here. Also, local ABC radio presenter Rachel Day phoned while I was in town to chat about eagles - you can listen to the audio of the interview by clicking 'play' below.

What a busy week out bush it was! Now back to the desk to catch up on all the admin...


Friday, 10 November 2017

Baakininy the Tronox Eagle


Born on one of the highest Perth Hills Wedge-tailed Eagle eyries that I've ever had the privilege (or punishment!) of climbing, the female eaglet I am holding above was one of 18 that were captured and marked for my research this year. When I fitted her rings/bands and took measurements earlier in the season, I left a climbing rope in place in order to be able to access the nest again, and yesterday the time had come to do just that, to fit her with a GPS/Satellite transmitter. This particular transmitter was sponsored by Tronox, a titanium company operating on a mineral sand mine just north of Perth. I have fond memories of visiting the 'Cooljarloo' mine for fauna survey work with Bamford Consulting Ecologists, not long after I finished uni over ten years ago. Connections were again forged with Tronox through Bob Huston from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, who has provided amazing support for my eagle research in recent years. Together with property owner John Ffarrington (who kindly gave me access to search for eagles on his Gidgegannup land), Ieva Tomsons from the Toodyay Herald newspaper, and my dear Dad (who was yet to experience an eagle banding activity), our little 'tagging team' set off on a fabulous Noongar Country afternoon to deploy the transmitter.

Beanstalk: scaling the 30m to a particularly high eagle nest.

After scaling the very tall Wandoo nest-tree and lowering the eaglet down in a handling bag, it was time to fit the transmitter using the 'backpack' mount method I learned from friends and raptor researcher mentors Ewan and Jenny in Scotland. I was very fortunate to have my friend and fellow environmental scientist Andrew Moore along to help by holding the eagle, who turned out to be quite a handful!

Andrew Moore, also an experienced drone pilot, carefully grips the juvenile eagle's talons.

Although she had been fitted with a falconry hood, which normally blinds (and subsequently calms) the bird, this eagle must have been able to see through a crack in the eye slots, as she persistently bit my hands and fingers while I carried out the attachment procedure. The main concern when handling eagles is their powerful talons, which in juveniles are pin-sharp, and together with extremely powerful 'ratcheted' toe/foot muscles, can inflict severe injuries. The bill is more of a 'tearing tool' and has far less power than a foot, but it does have a very sharp tip, useful for tearing apart kangaroo flesh, so it can still hurt!

Ouch! Not as bad as a talon though!

Fortunately Chris Bean from Tronox, who had been taking many wonderful photos of the occasion, stepped in to calmly support the eaglet's head which eased the beak-attacks on my hands! I could then carry on with the fitting the harness in relative peace.

That's a red fingernail you can see - not eagle (or Simon) blood!

After about half an hour of fine-tuning the transmitter harness fit, stitching it with a 'weak link' that will eventually fall off with natural decay, and taking a few updated measurements of the eagle's wings and feet, it was time to return her to the nest. I ascended into the canopy, gently removed her from the handling bag, and she hopped out in a slightly frustrated manner, but seemed relieved to be free to move about again.


Looking back at an eyrie and seeing a young Wedge-tailed Eagle safely back 'home' after it has been marked for research, and knowing we will be able to follow its journey, evokes a very unique feeling in me. It is mainly one of excitement and intrigue but also satisfaction (especially after such an adrenalin-induced tree-climb!) and a very strong element of concern for the bird, knowing it will soon leave the safety of its nest and venture further out into this dangerous world.

Baakininy, back on her nest wearing a new high-tech 'backpack'.

Although I'd been bitten by eagles quite a few times before, I certainly hadn't experienced a bird who bit so persistently, and this behaviour prompted me to suggest the name 'Baakininy', which in Noongar language means 'biting'. I was very pleased that Chris and the Tronox team also thought this to be appropriate. While I haven't traditionally been into naming wild animals, I believe it is important as a scientist to create an identify for the individual animals we are researching, particularly those whose progress we are able to follow in the close detail satellite-tracking allows. As an ambassador for Australia wildlife, the ecosystems of which it is a part, and the ancient cultural connection that Aboriginal People have shared with this amazing landscape, I have chosen to use indigenous language (Noongar in South-west Western Australia, and Martu in the Wiluna area) for Wedge-tailed Eagle names, because I feel it serves to remind us that these animals have been observed by people for thousands of years. These people are in some places in danger of losing their cultures, which are intricately linked with the lives of native animals and very much on the same page as 'western' values of biodiversity conservation (modernly referred to as 'Caring for Country'). Of course, such languages may provide us 'whitefellas' with new pronunciation challenges, but learning anything new always seems more difficult at first, and what better way to continue the use of an ancient language than by speaking out loud names given to charismatic, majestic birds of prey!?

The day was an extremely memorable one, and I am so grateful to all those who took part for their support, assistance and encouragement. We'll be excited to watch Baakininy's progress with eagle eyes!

Bob Huston, Ieva Tomsons and property owner John Ffarrington with Baakininy the eagle.

The team from Tronox enjoyed seeing a young eagle up close!

Sharing an 'eagling' experience with Dad was by far one of the highlights of my year.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Twin Brothers


These two amazing Wedge-tailed Eaglets hatched on a nest built by the parents of Wailitj - the Perth Hills' first juvenile eagle to be satellite-tracked - about a month ago. Given that Wailitj only survived for 2 months post-fledging, it was thrilling to discover his parents had doubled their 'output' this season.


At the end of September, with the help of some beautiful young boys (sons of some Perth Hills friends of mine) who have been keen to learn first hand about my eagle research, we fitted this brood of 'twins' with colour rings, weighed and measured the birds, then made ourselves scarce. With both having reached the age of 5 weeks, the odds were that they should continue growing healthily to fledging age of 3 months, but nothing is certain in the ever-changing natural world.

I was very excited to return to their eyrie this morning with my great friends Mick and Rianna and their two young sons Jarrahn and Bhodi, and find both eaglets (now juvenile eagles!) still alive and well! We fitted these birds with satellite transmitters - the second set of 'twin' WA wedgies to be sat-tagged - and I paused to photograph the partially consumed ibis on the eyrie as I placed them back 'home'. With this nest site definitely having the theme of 'two boys', I decided to give Jarrahn and Bhodi some homework: to come up with names for each eagle, with the only rule being that (as with all my Perth Hills eagles) they had to be in Noongar language.

The next day Mick rang me to let me know that the birds were to be called Naakal (= quiet) and Ngooni (= bother), two very appropriate Noongar words. It will be a privilege to follow the movements of these young brothers when they fledge and begin to wander around WA. I wonder if they will stay together on their journey?!

Naakal (left) and Ngooni sit next to a freshly killed Australian Ibis on their eyrie.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Ticking Off Eagle Nests


The time of year for Wailitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) ringing is upon us again, with most nests having quite large eaglets that are the perfect age for fitting with colour rings. Having just returned from my arid zone eagle research site at Matuwa last week, I was ready to carry on 'eagling' in the Perth Hills over the weekend and visited an amazing eyrie to ring/band the chick with my beautiful friend Dani on Sunday morning.

This eaglet 6-week old eaglet's eyrie was framed beautifully by the nest tree's limbs.

The eagle nest was located high in a live but very old and partially hollow Powderbark (Eucalyptus accedens) tree, which made the climb a nerve-racking but spectacular experience. I scaled the main trunk using ropes, then tied a safety line around the huge limb that I followed out towards the nest, inching my way along and trying not to pay too much attention to the multiple entrances to its hollow cavities, all covered in chew-marks from prospecting activities by local parrots.

This Powderbark tree has been growing in the landscape for several centuries.


I reached the young Wedge-tail and admired his view across the beautifully forested surrounds, before lifting him gently into a handling bag and lowering him safely to the ground below. Dani took him into the shade where we both worked quietly to weigh, measure and fit the two types of rings/bands. Having the bird so close allowed me to notice a small Kangaroo Tick (Amblyomma triguttatum) at the edge of its eye.

A kangaroo tick is visible just below the eaglets brow, smaller than the ever-present bush fly in the centre.


While ticks are perfectly good climbers and probably capable of ascending into the canopy on their own, I suspect this parasite may have been transported into the eagles' eyrie 'on board' a Yonga / Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) joey, common food for eagles nesting in the Perth Hills. Once the joey had been eaten, the tick probably went crawling for an alternative host, with the eagle chick being the nearest new victim. I chose not to remove this parasite as I know that these animals do drop off eventually, and risking damage to such an important part of such a young bird's body was not worth it.

Ringing and processing complete, it was great to place the eaglet back on its lofty nest and take in more off the amazing view. Now onto the next nest!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Darlyininy


In the Noongar language, the word 'Darlininy' means 'to go swiftly' ('iny' at the end of a Noongar word is the equivalent to the English suffix 'ing', but it is pronounced with a 'y' as in onion: 'in-ye'). Why is this relevant to eagles? Today, while extracting from a handling bag the young eagle who owns the fearsome-looking feet pictured above, I somehow managed to misjudge an attempted grab at one of his legs, then felt a sharp pain as a foot grabbed my hand sideways and a well-aimed talon punctured my palm (don't worry, it was just a flesh wound!). This happened in the blink of an eye, and I thought "Wow, that eagle moved swiftly!". This stuck in my brain until tonight, when I was considering a suitable Noongar word to use for the first juvenile Wailitj / Wedge-tailed Eagle to be fitted with a GPS/Satellite Tranmitter for the 2017 season. The name stuck. So where was this being carried out?

Juvenile eagles are removed from their nest and lowered to the ground in a canvas bag.

Whiteman Park, a recreation and conservation reserve located 18 km north of the Perth CBD, is fortunate enough to have two breeding pairs of wild Wedge-tailed Eagles residing in bushland. I have monitored with interest the breeding behaviour and diet in one home range since the first year of my university Honours project in 2004, recording 17 juveniles fledgling in 12 years. A second pair established a breeding home range quite recently (in 2015), the result of a particularly high density of Yonga / Western Grey Kangaroos living in this area (lots of eagle food). I refer to them as the Cullacabardee pair, named after the Noongar word and nearby suburb.

In June 2016, Whiteman Park staff found an adult female Wedge-tail dead beneath powerlines, nearly 5 km from the 'nest centre' of the Whiteman pair. The discussion below a post by the Western Australian Birds of Prey Centre regarding this death contains many assumptions about individual eagle identity, pair composition and breeding chronology which paint an inaccurate picture of what was actually happening in the wild. The dead bird may well have been a female from one of the resident pairs, but we have no way of identifying individual birds without marking them with leg bands or wing tags, and there was no such proof of 'who' this bird was. It may have been a local resident, or quite possibly a 'floating' (i.e. unattached) adult female from elsewhere. While the Cullacabardee pair was present constructing a new nest, I recorded no breeding activity in any known nests belonging to the 'original' Whiteman pair, nor did I locate a new nest, but did make several observations of an adult male eagle perched alone. This meant two things: 1) 'his' female had indeed died just prior to breeding (albeit a long way from 'home') and he was alone in his breeding home range, or 2) an adult female was still present, was attending a new nest that had escaped my detection during nest surveys, and the male was seen alone while the female was busy with 'mothering duties'.

It late 2016, I was carrying out some tree-climbing work for the Park when I flushed 2 juvenile Wedge-tails from the ground about 2 km from the Whiteman pair's existing nest sites. These birds were also captured on motion-sensing cameras nearby in subsequent weeks, confirmation there was definitely a successful breeding event in this home range and the death of an unknown female had not impacted productivity in the Whiteman home range. I now knew for sure that there was a 'missing' nest, so I set out in the 2017 breeding season determined to find it.

One August afternoon I located the Whiteman pair circling high above the Banksia woodland, then watched them simultaneously plummet from the sky to disappear below the tree-line. I followed my compass to a small 'valley' in between two sand dunes and suddenly came upon the nest, built very low in a dead Marri. This nest was atypical in that it was small, low down and not visible using traditional searching methods of scanning trees from a distance, proof that even massive raptors can be hard to find! I scaled this tree and was delighted with the scene in front of me!

The second egg in this clutch failed to hatch: it was infertile.

The news of this successful hatching in their conservation area, and the preparation of a new nest by the Cullacabardee Wedge-tails, prompted the wonderful Whiteman Park staff to agree to sponsor two transmitters for my PhD research. As well as helping me answer questions about juvenile dispersal, this would allow more detailed information about the Whiteman eagles' use of various habitats at the Park to be gathered.

Six weeks after locating the nest, this tiny eaglet had transformed into a well-feathered juvenile eagle. At first glance the nest appeared empty, but soon after sorting my camera I was met with the glorious sight of the eaglet standing up and lifting his new wings into the westerly wind! It was wonderful to see him doing so well and approaching a size suitable for satellite-tagging.

An 8 week-old Darlininy stretches his new wings.

When he had reached the age of 10 weeks, I was joined by Perth bird-banding mentors and good friends Mike and Mandy Bamford (whose wonderful enthusiasm for banding allowed me to begin colour-banding Perth wedgies in 2015), Sarah Stevenson from Whiteman Park and a few university students to visit the nest and fit a transmitter to Darlyininy. He was smoothly captured on his nest, lowered to the ground in a handling bag and (after his initial aggression at my palm!) held calmly in place while I adjusted his harness and began to stitch the Teflon.

Wailitj birds have a strong Aboriginal background!

Haemostats hold the Teflon in place in preparation for stitching the week-link harness.

The above image shows how a cardboard template is used to position all four straps of the transmitter harness evenly across the eagle's breast-bone. Once adjusted, the Teflon straps are crimped in place with haemostats, then a single 'weak link' is stitched through all four pieces where they meet in the centre. I am most grateful to Ewan and Jenny Weston from the Scottish Raptor Study Group, with whom I have been privileged to spend time learning raptor ringing and tagging techniques in Scotland, for teaching me this method.

It was fantastic to finally band an eagle with Mike and Mandy.

With metal and colour-rings/bands and a GPS/Satellite tag fitted, it was time to return Darlyininy to his nest. He posed for a quick image of his amazingly beautiful set of new wing feathers before being placed back in the handling bag and hoisted back up the tree.

Juvenile eagles' have conspicuously banded primary and secondary feathers.

Darlyininy assumes the threat posture typical of nestling wedgies.

It was wonderful to see Darlyininy back on his eyrie with a transmitter safely attached, and know we will be able to follow his first movements when he takes to the sky! For more information on satellite-tagging and to follow this and other eagles' progress, check out the Wedge-tailed Eagle Tracking website here.