Monday, September 26, 2011

Endangered raptors - Grey-headed Fish Eagle

Went to check on a family of Grey-headed Fish Eagles in the Mandai area. Didn't see the family till one of the three eagles appeared from under a Flame of the Forest to try to pick-up a fish from the river. It's first attempt failed but the second was a success as it took off with half an arowana and down river.
flying off with half a fish

Next thing I knew there were loud calls from at least two raptors. Grabbed my gear and followed the calls down river to investigate. The scene that greeted me caused some anxiety as the young eagle was hanging sideways off a tree stump covered with creepers while one of the adults was perched above it. Initial thought was the young bird had somehow gotten entangled with fishing line and was stuck. I very nearly sent out SOS for the bird but I decided that may be I should watch first as it may be a false alarm. The parents were calling to the young bird but did not seem overly stressed out. Eventually, the adult with the juvenile flew over to the Albizia and the young bird managed to right itself.
juvenile after righting itself
My guess was the young bird in its excitement to finish the fish may have gotten tangled in the vines. It only righted itself after finishing the fish as during the entire episode the fish that the parent brought was nowhere in sight.
adult keeping the juvenile company
My initial concern for the young bird was not unfounded. The quite area is frequented by a number of fishermen who know that it is illegal to fish there but continue to do so. All seem to be blind to the PUB signs. The man walking towards the other two was fishing next to the sign much like the other two further up river. 
men fishing illegally

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