To: Messages Birding-aus <>
From: Dr Richard Nowotny <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 00:42:30 +1000
My thoughts exactly, David.  As I was reading the original posting I immediately thought that a fall to earth with talons locked was the most likely explanation, given the description provided and having seen a Sea-eagle pair engaging in talon-locking and subsequent falling through the air near Julatten/Kingfisher Park.  Why else would 2 birds be found in such close proximity?  Very hard to explain via the poisoning theory, surely.
However, in the vets' defence, each of them saw only one bird, and may not have been provided with the full, and very suggestive, story.  However, if they did get the whole picture one has to ask why they would so readily head down the poisoning path.
Nonetheless, a very interesting observation whichever way one looks at it.

The symptoms "...two dead sea-eagles a few metres apart, one was crumpled into the ground.  Both were bleeding from the beak and had scratched, bleeding talons.  ..... One vet said that the bird had not eaten for a few days and suffered from internal haemorrhage which could be the result of poisoning.  The other vet said that the results were inconclusive but may have been the result of poisoning. "

My two bobs worth.  I fear that vets, in the absence of any conclusive results, and the presence of multiple fatalities, will opt for the poisoning theory without any real evidence.  Let's face it - what other reason could there be?  Another theory might well be "death by inadventure".  It is always possible that the birds had locked talons (as eagles do) and plummeted to earth being unable to disentangle themselves until too late, or on impact.  The internal haemorrhaging could well simply be a result of the impact.

OK, I don't really know what happened - nobody can - but it's as plausible (perhaps more so) than the poisoning theory.


David Geering

8 Pier St   Port Melbourne
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