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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