Meet the Little Eagle with a Big Secret
Little Eagle is not a small bird, standing up to half a metre tall with a wing-span of a metre – it’s just smaller than other eagles. This species is native to Australia and lives in woodlands, grasslands and arid regions. The open woodland habitat of Little Eagles is thought to be declining in NSW and the ACT, and so the eagle may also be vulnerable to decline.
In late 2013, the Ginninderry project team learnt of a pair of Little Eagles nesting on the project site in the vicinity of Strathnairn – an arts centre on the edge of farms in the project area. The Little Eagle had not been recorded in any of the project’s earlier bird surveys, although it was known on nearby sites along the Molonglo River.
In 2016 we made an amazing discovery after we placed a GPS tracker on one male bird. After following the Eagle for some months using farms and the urban fringe in the region to catch birds and rabbits, all the experts were astounded when it packed its bags and took flight to the Northern Territory – the largest migration of this species ever recorded.
This big secret surprised everyone. Read more about his journey here
Now you can follow the life of our Little Eagles on Eagle-Cam
Thankfully the big guy came back! We have also found previously unknown eagles in the area and on another nest only a few kilometers away. Now, as part of the ongoing wider research program being undertaken by the ACT Government, University of Canberra, CSIRO and Ginninderry Joint Venture, cameras have now been set above three Little Eagle nests within the Belconnen area. These cameras will provide information on diet and breeding timing and success. They provide good vision of the birds even though almost nothing can be seen from the ground or from neighbouring areas.
In tandem with satellite tracking of the birds, the recordings from these cameras will be used by researchers to gain new insights into their behaviours. Similar nest-cams around the world have recorded the jubilation of successful egg hatchings and fledglings leaving the nests, while others have told the harsher side of nature’s story – when the little ones don’t make it. So join us on the journey but be prepared for the potential highs and the lows…
So far the Eagles have been most active during the morning, 8:00 am – 10:00 am, secretively building up the nest, so why not make it the first thing you check-on when you get to your workstation. Hopefully they will take up residence and we’ll see an egg or even a chick in the nest before too long.
To view the live video stream of the eagles’ nest, click on either the play button or on the picture. If the video fails to display, click here.
Learn more about how Ginninderry and our research partners are Protecting Strathnairn’s Little Eagle.