28th July was a red letter day for me. Megan Murgatroyd who did her PhD on the Black Eagles in the Cederberg and Sandveld is now engaged in a post doc project which requires satellite tagging adult Black Eagles. On this particular day she was at a nest cliff in the Overberg, when she noticed one of the eagles’ was tagged and immediately sent me the picture below.
I have been monitoring this nest since 2007 and it seems there has been a change of mate. This happens more frequently than we realise and this time it was quite obvious with the tagged eagle turning up. He seemed quite at home as shown in Megan’s pictures below.
This is the first time I have heard of it being seen again, so I do wonder where it has been these last seven years. It will be the first time I have a tagged eagle as one of a resident pair. They are not breeding this season and it’s likely the arrival of the tagged male interrupted breeding this year. However they seem pretty established as a pair, so we are hoping for the best next season.
When Megan set about trapping an eagle at this site, both adults came down onto the trap. The satellite tag was fitted to the female, but trapping the male gave us a good opportunity to check the condition of the tags and evidence of damage to the wings or plumage. As a seven year old adult he now weighs 3.8kgs; the female weighed 4.8 kgs .
although the tags are very mobile and often flip up and down and turn around during flight, the pictures below show that it causes no damage to the eagles’ plumage and no injury or scar tissue on the skin.