EAGLES THREATENED BY EYES IN THE SKY
DRONES are posing a modern threat to the survival of wedge-tailed eagles, prompting Parkerville expert Simon Cherriman to launch a crowdfunding project to study the bird.
Mr Cherriman said little was known about Australia’s largest bird of prey.
“Currently we have limited information about the movements and survival of juvenile wedge-tails, especially during modern times, which have seen an increase in human activity in arid Australia, resulting in drastic changes to their habitat,” he said.
“We do know many birds are killed by vehicles and more recently the threat of increasingly used drones is encroaching on their habitat in the sky.”
In 2015 Mr Cherriman crowdfunded to satellite tag young wedge-tails born in the Perth Hills, which was done in October 2016, the first time such work had been held in this part of Australia.
“Kala, one of the young eagles sattagged, fledged in December 2016 and is now wandering around the vast interior,” he said.
“But he is vulnerable to a range of threats.
“Two other wedge-tails that were sattagged died well before turning one, placing emphasis on just how precious the life of every young eagle is.
“One of these birds, Walyunga, was killed after colliding with an aircraft, possibly while attacking a drone that chopped off multiple flight feathers, highlighting the significance of such modern threats.”
Mr Cherriman said eagles perceived drones as a threat to their territory and lives.
He said the last population-scale study was held by CSIRO during the 1960s and 1970s.
“This study’s conclusion emphasised the need to conduct long-term population studies and continue research as environmental changes occur,” he said.
“But no such broad-scale research has been conducted.”
The public can donate until September 13 by visiting https:// pozible.com/project/wheres-wailitj.
Simon Cherriman wants to study the habits of juvenile wedge-tailed eagles. Above: an eaglet.