20 December 2003

Parents prey and unto them a chick is born

In July this year the raptors tried again and, from a distance through binoculars, Mrs Harrington watched their progress. After a 40-day incubation a chick was born. In mid-November Harrington saw it perched on the edge of its eyrie, ready to fly.

'It has definitely flown and there have been reports of the young eagle,' she said. Now Sydney Olympic Park is calling on residents near the Parramatta River to report any sightings of the teenager. Its size would already be identical to its parents but its plumage will not yet be as snow white as the adults'. Instead, its wings will be covered in brown blotches and its life will be hanging in the balance for the next few months while it learns to hunt and fend for itself.

Its parents will feed it for at least the next couple of months, during which time the young bird will keep a low profile - perhaps hidden somewhere deep in the vast mangrove forests along that reach of the river. 'There's a lot of pollution and contamination but a lot of that has also been cleaned up,' Mrs Harrington said. 'It may still be a problem for the young bird.'

In its favour is the dramatic recovery of the area's wetlands and fish stocks for the eagle family to feed on. If it survives, the eagle will find its own mate and a new home, hopefully expanding the range of the species.

'The young bird is huge, unmistakable,' Mrs Harrington said. 'It's not as big as a wedgy. But the species is the biggest eagle we have around here.'

And you thought this blog was obsessed with bad news...

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