RE: Wedge Tailed Eagle feeding or fighting?

To: Colin Driscoll <>, Birding-aus <>, Jon Wren <>
Subject: RE: Wedge Tailed Eagle feeding or fighting?
From: Len Ezzy <>
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2004 20:04:35 +1000
Hi Jon

Re:- Wedgies on Abbot Point Rail and Road

We are both referring to the same area here, and probably the same birds.

Maybe I could have been more specific with my English in the "Drongo" story, but
lets face it, it is a story and not a report.   I'd say that was another late
night compilation and probably way past my bedtime.

Yes, they were fighting, not actually aimed at each other, but in a harassing
mode in an effort of competition to get onto the carcass.  They could have been
more hungry than the ten you observed waiting for their turn to feast.  What I
did note though, and which detail I didn't include in the story, was that they
were not all fighting simultaneously to get to the food.  There was only ever 
bird on top of the carcass.  A couple would try and stealth up to steal a bite,
then the dominant bird would react with screams and wings outstretched and with
an aggression that could kill.  It was enough to set the others reeling and
wheeling away.  There was never any mass "talloning" or biting etc between the
group.  Just looked like a squabble over dinner.  There would always be a couple
or three that would wait patiently nearby.

Hope that helps clarify the scene.


Len Ezzy
North Queensland

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Wren 
Sent: Monday, 7 June 2004 12:07
To: ; Birding-aus; Colin Driscoll
Subject: Wedge Tailed Eagle feeding or fighting?

Gooday all,
I recall watching a Pacific Baza delicately consuming a phasmid during a
visit to Black Mountain Road at Kuranda.
On another interesting note. Recently at Abbot Point I counted 10
Wedge-tailed Eagles settled near or on a wallaby carcass between the rail
track. One bird was feeding while the others seemed to be waiting for there
turn at the morsel only to be eventually disturbed by a train. As we were
unloading the train was travelling at 1 kph which allowed good observation
conditions in a mobile hide.
Chris and Len Ezzy reported in "The Drongo" No 72  May 2004 (Newsletter of
the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) "On a private road and rail
corridor to Abbot Point, we witnessed six Wedge-tailed Eagles fighting over
a roo carcass on the railway line which runs parallel to the road."

I would be interested in any observation by others of feeding Wedge tailed
Eagles. When you use the term "fighting" is it actually describing fighting
between birds or similar activity to say a pack of vultures feeding on a
carcass, which seems more like every bird for itself. I have never witnessed
Wedge-tailed Eagles fighting but seemingly following some form of pecking
order. Abbot Point has a high number of road a rail kill hence the high
number of birds observed in the vicinity.
Jon Wren

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