Wedge-tailed eagle – wow. They’re huge. And very impressive.
I have to start with an apology for the photos. 2 problems. Firstly, I’m not a professional photographer so my photos are always going to be amateur. Secondly, their ‘comfort zone’ is about 5m longer than the range of my ‘zoomiest’ lense, so they fly off just before I can get a really sharp picture of them.
Last week I went on a trip to North-West WA. The best thing about the really long journey was seeing so many wedge-tailed eagles. I managed to see one or two of them very close up (not in time to get a picture though). I’ve seen a couple before, but only circling high above.
You can see from this where their name comes from, and also just how big they are. Their wing span is about 2m and they’re about 1m long.
The young birds are pale to mid brown. They get darker as they get older until they look almost black. This one was very dark. Like many birds of prey the female is larger than the male.
My favourite fact about the wedge-tailed eagle (thank you wiki) is that they can see a greater range of the light spectrum than us, into infra-red and ultra-violet, which allows them to see thermals to climb on.
Although they’re good hunters, it’s much easier to eat road kill for breakfast. So they cruise along the highway in the morning to see if a kangaroo or a goat has been hit overnight. You can see them either feeding on the carcass, or sitting in a nearby bush keeping an eye on it for another feed once breakfast has gone down. This one found an alternative perch.
This family was definately my favourite wedge-tail sighting during the trip. This is the Dad (I think) and this year’s chick on the termite mound.
This is the chick once Dad flew up to join Mum.
And below are the parents perched above the rocks.
So, if ever you want to see a wedge-tailed eagle, I suggest you head out into the middle of no-where on one of those very straight, very long, very empty roads with plenty of supplies and just keep your fingers crossed.