is a common myth that surrounds the Wedge-Tailed Eagle which has contributed heavily
to its demise in many areas of Australia. Many farmers of small stock, such as
sheep and goats, believe that the Wedge-tailed Eagle hunts and kills stock young
and that these birds badly effect the sheep industry, crippling their income.
This is not so.
in the 1900's literally thousands of eagles were killed. Between 1927 and 1968
in Western Australia alone 150,000 Government paid bounties were given as rewards
for eagle carcases, and in Queensland another 10,000. This practise has long ceased
as many now know that eagles only take sick and dying animals. Most farmers have
been educated that the eagle does not have a negative effect on the sheep industry,
but sadly there are still many out there who don't believe it and continue to
shoot, trap and destroy Wedge-tailed Eagles despite them being protected in all
are incredibly large and lanky birds. The bulk of these birds limits their chances
of hunting live food and more often than not they are unsuccessful in their attempts
at seizing live prey. The eagle doesn't have the manoeverabilty as does the smaller
birds of prey such as falcons, hawkes and kites and not only are twists and turns
difficult - near impossible - for the eagle such manouevers use up valuable energy
which is better used for circling in thermal air currents searching for carrion,
which makes up a large part of their diet.
two birds shown above came into care after having been shot. Both had severe wing
injuries destroying bone, cartilidge and feathers - they will never fly again.
Normally the decision would be to euthanse such animals as they cannot be returned
to the wild, however these birds escaped death and now reside in a wildlife refuge
and are used for educational purposes.