Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Juvenile Eagle Tagged!
The third transmitter has been deployed! We visited Gidjee and Mulga’s nest today and found their eaglet, now about 9 weeks old, peering down at us with that alert look that older nestlings often have. Her large skull and long bill confirmed she was a female. After a quick tree-climb using a ladder, I removed her from the nest, blinded her to minimise stress, and lowered her to my fantastic assistants, Mike Lohr and Mike Griffiths, on the ground. I then fitted another solar powered GPS/Satellite transmitter using the same harness used on adult eagles earlier this year. This took about 30 minutes, then it was time for some quick photos. My huge thanks to both Mikes for their invaluable help.
It was only after placing her back on the nest that the moment hit me – finally I had satellite tagged a juvenile eagle before it fledges! This was the main aim of this project when it began more than a year ago, but there were many rungs to climb first, including trialling the PTTs on more robust adults first. Now we will be able to determine the day the chick fledges, document her very first flight movements, and follow her journey afterwards. Where will she go on her first ever flight? How long will she depend on her parents for? And what direction will she travel after leaving ‘home’ next year? I can’t wait to find out!