Local Little Eagles taking grand Aussie tours

A study into Little Eagle movement in the ACT region has shown the native bird is successfully breeding and migrating across Australia.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman said the monitoring project was improving understanding of the birds and confirmed they were continuing to breed in the Canberra area.

“Little Eagles are listed as Vulnerable in the ACT and NSW. Thirteen nesting pairs were monitored this past breeding season – nine in the ACT and four in nearby NSW. Eight chicks were successfully raised, compared to five last year, with five in the ACT and three in NSW,” Mr Gentleman said.

“The joint research project is being undertaken by the ACT Government, Ginninderry Joint Venture, CSIRO and researchers from the Australian National University. This helps us better manage species within the ACT and points out a need for a national approach to caring for native animals.”

ACT Conservator Ian Walker said Little Eagle movements were monitored by attaching small satellite GPS backpacks to four of the breeding males.

“Data showed that during the breeding season, all four mostly stayed within a few kilometres of the nest site, and all took occasional flights more than 10km, with one travelling over 40km out and back from its nest area. These movements were consistent with that of a tracked male which nested in West Belconnen in two previous years, who had a foraging range of around 65 square kilometres,” Mr Walker said.

“A GPS backpack was also attached to a fledgling female chick reared on Black Mountain in the spring of 2017. The GPS recorded an incredible journey that spanned from north of Bundaberg in Queensland, back south past the ACT into Victoria, then as far west as Port Pirie in South Australia and across to the East Gippsland region in Victoria where she was most recently recorded.”

“Three fledglings from the 2018 breeding season were also fitted with GPS trackers. All male and fledging birds with trackers left the ACT by mid-autumn. One adult male and one young bird have flown to Melbourne, while another adult male flew to north-west Queensland.”

Images of the birds and flight paths are available here: https://we.tl/t-nEkoIIevKA

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