Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

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:// poz­i­­itj.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt­mu­ni­ d472748

Si­mon Cher­ri­man wants to study the habits of ju­ve­nile wedge-tailed ea­gles. Above: an ea­glet.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.