5 thoughts on “Dutch trade in raptors and owls

  1. Administrator on August 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm said:

    Cape Argus (Cape Town)

    South Africa: Verreaux’s Eagles – Story of Survival

    17 August 2010

    The Peninsula’s only breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagles – the species formerly known as Black Eagles – are performing their parenting duties with due diligence, and this season’s chick is thriving in the family nest in the Silvermine section of the Table Mountain National Park.

    Named Gandolf, the survivor of the pair of hatchlings – this species is characterised by the “Cain and Abel” struggle soon after hatching, which sees only the stronger of the two chicks survive – hatched at the end of June and was doing “very well”, reported Lucia Rodrigues, of the Western Cape Black Eagle Project, which monitors this iconic bird species in the province.

    The project is aware of 69 pairs of Verreaux’s Eagles, with 19 chicks surviving this season, including seven in the Sandveld region, three from the Kogelberg (Steenbras, Bot River and Rooiels), two in the Overberg, two from Beaufort West, and one each from the Cederberg, Silvermine, West Coast, Hex Tunnel and Robertson.

    But news from further north about probably the best known Verreaux’s Eagle in South Africa is less cheerful.

    The bird is Emoyeni, believed to be at least 40 years old, and it was already nesting on the Roodekrans cliffs adjacent to the imposing Witpoortjie Falls in the Walter Sisulu (Witwatersrand) National Botanical Garden when it was established in 1982. Sightings of the species there date back to the early 1940s and Emoyeni is believed to be the third, or possibly the fourth, generation since that era.

    The Black Eagle Project Roodekrans started ringing the juvenile eagles on this nest in 2006, and all fledged the nest successfully with no adverse reaction. On July 26, this season’s chick was ringed on the leg and two patagial tags were attached to the patagium (a membrane of skin on the wing).

    “The reason tags are put on to large raptors is to help with identifying the birds out in the field,” the project said.

    “The tag has a unique number on it that can be traced back to the nesting area. This information is important in understanding the dispersal of the birds from the natal area”

    But to the amazement and distress of researchers at Roodekrans, Emoyeni started behaving aggressively to the tags on her chick, causing it great distress. In one attack she broke the youngster’s leg.

    The chick was removed from the nest and treated by a wildlife vet, who said the prognosis for recovery and release back into the wild was “high”. It was transferred to a rehabilitation centre where it will stay until it is ready to fledge.

    The Roodekrans project team described the unexpected attack as “a learning curve”, and said they would no longer ring and tag chicks at that nest site.

    The incident had been discussed at the Birds of Prey Programme annual meeting recently, Rodrigues added.

    “Patagial tagging has been used by ornithologists worldwide for decades, and was adopted at the 2006 EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust) plenary as an approved method of marking some raptors. At the time it was considered the best informed decision, and that has not changed.

    “But this incident has reminded me not to become blasé and to remain vigilant,” Rodrigues said.

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