I suggest you consult a field guide book about your identification. You
may be seeing a Wedge-tailed Eagle but your description certainly gives
me doubts. It could be any of several raptor species. In particular,
they are much bigger than "about the size of a very large crow" and
their wing span is much more than 1 metre. It is 186 to 227 cm (by
Stephen Debus' book).
Not sure what a "squawrk" is, or how well you know "a typical wedge tail
call". Not a lot of bird observers would know the call of these birds.
They don't call much and it is a weak yelp. If the bird is flying, then
it would be (even if young), reasonably close to full size. Young
Wedge-tailed Eagles are not black, they are patterned in various shades
I am skeptical, not because there is any reason why you shouldn't see
Wedge-tailed Eagles (they are common enough) but there are cases of e.g.
people identifying a Channel-billed Cuckoo being fed by Currawongs as a
White-bellied Sea-eagle, and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos being
identified as eagles, etc.
24 Castley Circuit
Kambah ACT 2902
02 - 62314041
On Behalf Of Jessica
Sent: Thursday, 29 January 2009 9:02 PM
Subject: Wedge Tail Eagle calls?
Over the Australia Day long weekend I noticed what looked very much like
an adolescent Wedge Tail Eagle hanging out at Salvin Creek on the border
of Mount Gravatt East and Carina Heights in Brisbane.
The bird was about the size of a very large crow and had the well
defined head of an eagle (but all black), black body, beautiful brown
wings, and those classic eagle legs. I noticed that this bird had what
would have been a tell-tale wedge tail, but it was missing about half of
its feathers (looked like some kind of attack). The bird could still
fly. Wing span was larger than I expected for its size, but still less
than a metre across.
What struck me as odd was the call of the bird, which was more of a
"squawrk" and sounded nothing like a typical wedge tail call. After the
bird noticed me it sat on a tree branch and well.. it sounds lame but I
did a poor impression of mimicking its call and it squawked back as it
watched me. After a few minutes of me-squawk-you-squawk he moved on to
hop between other branches before eventually flying off.
The next day I saw the same bird again. But it brought a friend with it
(a SECOND ONE) which followed the first for a while before crossing the
creek and disappearing into the large scrub there while the first bird
remained on my side of the creek. Same species, same size and markings,
almost identical but with no noticeable injuries or defects. It had a
full wedge tail. I didn't hear the second bird make any call. I was
reasonably less concerned for the first birds welfare after seeing it
had a sibling or mate.
A crow flew in before the pair moved on, which was fortunate because I
was able to visually compare the two and I am pretty darn sure these
were eagles... just not fully grown.
I guess my question is:
do young wedge tails make squawking sounds or was I looking at something
that looked exactly like a wedge tail but... wasn't a wedge tail?
Also, is it abnormal for these birds to jump around bushes? Possible
prey in the area includes fish, possums, water dragons, large variety of
other birds, and we're pretty sure we saw either a wallaby or small
kangaroo yesterday which is just plain weird considering we're in
suburbia... but it looked way too big for these guys to attack.
Will try to get photos if the opportunity presents itself but they
didn't come close enough for a decent shot with the camera I have.
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