Sea eagle behaviour

To: brian fleming <>
Subject: Sea eagle behaviour
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:41:42 +1000
Obviously the turtles at Gunbower did not have the same luck as Myrtle the 
Turtle, in Les Barkers great parody, "May the Turtle be Unbroken". Probably not 
enough caretakers.


Carl Clifford

On 30/09/2013, at 10:10, brian fleming <> wrote:

>  When we were at Gunbower on the Murray some years ago, there were lots of 
> turtle shells, lying about in the camping area and on roads and tracks.  Many 
> were broken.  People there told me that they were not very often run over by 
> cars, but that Sea-Eagles drop them from a height to smash them and eat the 
> contents.  Not a thing you'd want dropped on your head.
>  Readers of Terry Pratchett will remember /Small Gods/. Classical scholars 
> will remember Aeschylus.
> Anthea Fleming
> On 30/09/2013 9:14 AM, Philip Veerman wrote:
>> Interesting story. I would believe it. About the only thing I know of that
>> is similar is of some other eagle species catching tortoises and flying up
>> high to drop them on rocks, the Lammergeier is reported to do the same with
>> big bones. There are a few possibilities or questions. Did the Sea-Eagle
>> intentionally drop the piglet in the swamp, in which the benefit may be to
>> hope it would drown, but as their usual prey is adept in the water, that
>> would seem to be a dumb strategy, or did it lose grip maybe of a struggling
>> animal as it happened to be flying over the swamp?
>> Did these guys keep the piglet or help the Sea-Eagle get its meal or leave
>> it to die some other way presumably?
>> Philip
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: 
>>  On Behalf Of
>> Sent: Monday, 30 September 2013 7:17 AM
>> To: 
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Sea eagle behaviour
>> Greetings all,
>>  I've just returned from a week at Strathburn Cattle Station which lies 120
>> kms north west of Musgrave Station on Cape York. The birding was fascinating
>> but the following story from two locals who verified the tale to me
>> independently got me thinking. The two station hands were having a break by
>> a very large swamp which is about 6 kms around its perimeter. It was April
>> this year just after the wet season. They noticed a White-bellied Sea-eagle
>> carrying something as it was flying across the swamp. It dropped its bundle
>> from a height of about 150 meters and flew on. A few minutes later both men
>> were stunned when a tiny piglet swam ashore and raced under their vehicle,
>> screaming in terror. They caught the piglet and noted talon marks on its
>> body. The Sea-eagle came back and circled the centre of the swamp seemingly
>> searching for something. It was an interesting yarn and I'm sure the two
>> observers weren't just having me on. My question is, is this typical
>> Sea-eagle behavior? I'd be interested if anyone else has heard of similar
>> observations.
>>  regards,
>>    Gary Oliver
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