Little Eagle reports

To: "Jenny Bounds" <>, "Canberrabirds" <>
Subject: Little Eagle reports
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 14:36:14 +1000
Hi Jenny,
An issue worth considering. About the possibility of it being a Swamp Harrier's nest, sorry but I suspect you accidentally typed the wrong name or someone advised you wrongly. If it is in a tree, then it couldn't be a Swamp Harrier's nest. They (like all the world's harriers except for the Spotted Harrier) nest on the ground. If there isn't a clear id of the bird (and I don't know), I wonder whether it could be Whistling Kite's nest. (I haven't seen the nest in question but the nests of those two species usually look similar).
I don't disagree about the idea of nominating the Little Eagle, as you suggest. However as for the article by Jerry in CBN, I am concerned to clarify the results from the GBS over the issue (as they will no doubt be considered if such a nomination proceeds). I have written to Jerry about the issue some time back. I put the view that the results from the GBS showing a very variable but slight increase in recorded abundance of the Little Eagle over the 21 years is NOT inconsistent with the possibility of the species being in decline as a breeding species. He seemed to suggest there is a disagreement and I don't think there is. Also the issue about misidentification raised by Jerry is mostly a furphy, as rates of misidentification of the species should have decreased over the years. As for the GBS, the species was being increasingly recorded at just a few sites in the GBS and this could easily be accounted for by just a very small number of individuals. For a species that is quite conspicuous and ranges far in daily movements (like most raptors) that the species is increasingly (or at least not less) seen over GBS sites, could easily correlate to them breeding less and therefore spending more time roaming around, away from their home range or any nests. Also as a big bird with presumably good survival level after reaching one year old, a decline in breeding could easily occur for many years before the base population of adults declines. Therefore a decline in breeding could be serious cause for concern, even when the species still appears to be as common as they were 20 years ago.
For those that have old CBN, see my 1986 article and illustrations about the "Identification of the Little Eagle and Whistling Kite" in CBN 11(3):105 - 107.
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