Wedge-tailed Eagles: Just When You Thought It Was Safe

As some of you may know, I live in the outer western suburbs of Brisbane. Even though you can get to the city by car in just under 30 minutes (without traffic), the area I live in is semi-rural. We have a lot of green grass and fields around us, particularly in a couple of the suburbs.

As I was going about my business today, I pulled up outside a house in one of those semi-rural areas and immediately got out of the car. It was a shame I didn’t take a little more time to check out my surroundings first, because if I had, I would have seen what I’m pretty sure was a wedge-tailed eagle sitting on a post less than 2 metres from my open window.

Instead of seeing it fly off into the distance as I emerged from my car, I would have been able to take a photograph of it, which would have looked something like this…

wedge-tailed eagle

All I saw though was the tail end of this eagle as it disappeared off into the distance.

Wedge-tailed eagle attacks

This reminded me of a story that broke just before Christmas of attacks by wedge-tailed eagles taking place in Upper Brookfield, a suburb just 10 minutes from where I live.

Residents were being warned to keep cats, little dogs, chickens and other small pets protected amid reports of animals going missing with these eagles being the prime suspect. One resident had complained that 10 of her animals had been savaged or had gone missing including chickens and ducks. Another resident complained that a baby goat and lamb had been taken.

The solution to keeping these pets safe is to not let these animals free range, but to keep them in a pen with a netting covered roof to protect them from attack.

Wedge-tailed eagles are found throughout Australia and in southern New Guinea. My Bible of Brisbane wildlife says they are also known as Eaglehawk or Wedgie and are about 110 cm long. Their wingspan is about 2.5 metres.

So, you wouldn’t much fancy your chances if you were a small dog or a cat, but just how tough are these eagles? Here are a couple of videos of wedge-tailed eagle attacks, one in which the eagle wins and the other in which it turns around and runs (or rather flies) away.

Wedge-tailed eagle versus drone

This is an airborne version of the game of ‘chicken’ and on this occasion, neither eagle nor drone was interested in getting out of the way. The winner is clear…

Melbourne Aerial Video, the people who posted the video, confirmed that the eagle was fine. I’m pretty sure they would have had to replace that drone though.

Wedge-tailed eagle versus kangaroo

The wedgie may have won that airborne battle with a mechanical device, but larger mammals on the ground would surely offer tougher opposition…

As you can see, that attack didn’t go so well, but that doesn’t mean kangaroos are safe from these predators. These eagles are smart and sometimes they attack in groups, and that’s a much trickier proposition for a kangaroo or any other large mammal.

Not as mad as the magpie, but ultimately a much more powerful aerial threat. But this is Australia, and whether on land, in the air, or under the sea, we love our wildlife. I wouldn’t swap what we’ve got with that of any other continent in the world.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • djmcbell January 7, 2016, 9:02 pm |

    But are they poisonous?

    • BobinOz January 8, 2016, 9:52 pm |

      They must be, this is Australia!

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