Bird Wedge Tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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Common Name: Wedge Tailed Eagle.

Scientific Name: Aquila audax

Order: Falconiformes

Family: Accipitridae

Distribution: Throughout Australia and southern New Guinea .

Habitat: Almost all habitats, though they tend to be more common in lightly timbered and open country.

Field Notes: The largest Australian raptor, one of the largest birds in the world and the most common of all the world's large eagles. It has long, fairly broad wings, fully feathered legs, and an unmistakable wedge-shaped tail.
As with many raptors, the female is much larger than the male, averaging around 4.2 kg and sometimes over 5 kg. Males are typically around 3.2 kg. Length varies between 0.9 and 1.1 metres, wingspan from 1.8 to 2.5 metres.

Photo by Auscraft 2011, Jimmy's Scrub, Kinbombi, QLD

View attachment 1259View attachment 1260
 

Dusty Miller

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If you are recovering skins from fresh roadkill, it is important to throw them some good distance off the road as wedge tails will often get injured eating bodies at the roadside. In some places eagles and large hawks even come to the sound of gunfire, especially in pig country.
 

auscraft

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Your absolutely right especially on corners and they are slow to gain height off the ground.
 

Dusty Miller

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Your absolutely right especially on corners and they are slow to gain height off the ground.
And the wingspan is incredible. Oh, and never try to move one that already has an eagle on it:) Truly fearsome
 

Aussie123

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Driving in Centre Australian areas it pays to lookout for the eagles, often 2 to 4, sitting on a carcass of some road kill.

Eagles like to sit on a high perch, or wheel high in the sky, so that they can swoop down. They are quite ungainly and slow when taking off from the ground, so its important to slow down so that they have a chance to take off safely.
 

Dusty Miller

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...and by something else at the back. Mr popular.
 

Dusty

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Spotted this pair in tree about 10 metres accross the road when we stopped the car. They were real posers.

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Location: Kilkivan, 2012
 

AussiePreppers

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Damn Dusty those last ones are impressive! While driving across the Nullarbor I spotted heaps of these guys, and the wingspan on some of them reminded me more of a hang-glider than a bird.
 

XT John

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This is a piece I put in the hang gliding club news letter after a memorable mid-winter flight from Mt Tamborine several years ago.

Hey Guys,
I just wanted to tell every one who flies off Tambo about my
flight with a wedgie yesterday . After an hour or so of
playing cat and mouse with broken thermals/bubbles around the ridge
I snagged a good one over the bomb-out and went with it as it
drifted towards the north point of the mountain. Reaching 3800 just
in front of the point, I saw a flash and looked up just in time to
see a wedgie in full tuck come hurtling at me from out of the
sun, "OH SHIT!" I thought. The bird swooped around to come up behind
me then gave me a very thorough inspection, checking out my top
surface then my under side before looking very closely at my
trailing edge from one end to the other. When he decided I was
neither foe nor food he began to fly with me as I squeezed the last
couple of hundred feet from this disintergrating thermal. In a
couple of minutes I started to search around for another bit of lift
only to find that the wedgie was still with me, staying under my port wing.
A short while later I found bubble worth turning in and as I worked my way up to
4300 I was surprised to find my companion still with me. Once again
the search for lift continued until I came across another good-un
that took me up to the rough and very cold top of the inversion
layer at 4700, all the while sharing the air with you know who. A
number of times he positioned himself under my left wing so closely
that I could have reached out and touched the tip of his wing but
didn't for fear of scaring him away. I spoke gently to him and we
made eye contact on several occasions, what an amazing liason between
man and nature! This whole episode lasted nearly fifteen minutes
before he slowly drifted off to the south and I dove towards the
bomb-out to get on the ground and thaw out. Without a doubt this was
the highlight of my flying career ( followed closely by the time I
flew through a tunnel that went from one side of a cloud bank to the
other). So next time your'e flying at Tambo and get dived upon by a
wedgie wait a moment or two before trying to scare him off and you
may find that your life is about to get a little richer.
Cheers XT John.
 
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Dusty

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Thanks for sharing such an amazing story XT John. Must have been such a thrill for you and something you would remember for the rest of your life. I get such such a buzz spotting them and taking photos but nothing would compare to having one fly next to you. WOW.
 

XT John

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Thanks Dusty.
Yes, it's a memory I'll take to the grave.
You were lucky to have that pair posing for your camera like that! Great shots.
 

Dusty

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Fantastic pic XT John.
We were at the QLD museum recently and I was was so taken back by the size of these birds. The museum had designated a wedgetail to be displayed by itself at the top of a staircase on one of the floors. It was massive, close up and personal. A small rabbit had been placed at its claws which was quite insignificant compared to the size of this creature. The best part was being able to walk right around the case and get a close look. The wings were spread out and the length of the wingspan was a pretty awesome sight.
 

Hairyman

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I've seen a big reaction from crows when one of their kind was killed by a neighbour (about 35+ years ago)
they came from miles around and there must have been hundreds of them all flying about 200 feet up and making a hell of a racket.
 
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