This is a remarkable development. To quote a recent comment of Stephen Debus: “We knew some Little Eagles make long-distance dispersive or wintering movements, some apparently
to the tropics, but this is the first time technology has proved that territorial breeding males migrate.”
The tracking device was attached to this male by Jerry Olsen at the end of October 2015 when it appeared that breeding attempts by the Strathnairn pair had failed. Here is the male on 1 Jan 2017, at a time when
it would have been attending to the fledgling of that season.
There are a couple of points in the media statement that should be followed up. The first is the comment that last year ‘four breeding pairs’ were located in the ACT. After soliciting breeding reports I’m only
aware of two successful nests in the ACT for the 2016/17 season. Other LEs were reported, and other nestings were certainly possible. If there were other nesting pairs the question arises whether they were new nesting pairs (a very welcome development) or
pairs that had been overlooked in previous years. The methodology behind the reports in CBN (and in the case for threatened status for the Little Eagle) relies largely on observations by chatline members - which had brought to light the two known successful
nests in the first place. Any information to help settle the important ‘two or four’ issue will be appreciated.
The other point is the statement that the pictured male seems to have been breeding in the Canberra area since 2001. That is quite possibly so. It depends partly on the history of the Strathnairn nest and partly
on what nestings elsewhere can confidently be attributed to the Strathnairn pair (or to that individual male). Peter Christian brought the Strathnairn nest to attention in December 2012, not having seen it previously. However, Strathnairn staff reported
Little Eagles around the nesting site for at least a few years previously. It is possible, but no more than that, that the male in question was a participant in previous nestings there. The pair composition is not known. Remember the old bushman’s 20-year-old
axe – 7 different handles and 3 different heads.
& Adele Rosalky [
Sent: Thursday, 20 April 2017 9:35 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Little Eagle's adventure
I am sure most members will have seen this, but for those who haven’t.