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Sydney Olympic Park - Sea-Eagles
History 2019


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EagleCAM is a BirdLife Australia, Southern NSW, Research Project.
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Report on the 2019 nesting of the White-bellied Sea-Eagles
in the Newington Nature Reserve Forest
at Sydney Olympic Park
 

Birdlife Australia - Southern NSW
Judy Harrington, Geoff Hutchinson, Jon Irvine.
We acknowledge the essential assistance from the current EagleCAM team - Judy Harrington, Geoff Hutchinson, Bob Oomen and Chris Bruce, for camera installation and maintenance and Shirley McGregor for managing the daily operations.
Special thanks to Dasha, Marsha and Pat, for monitoring nesting observations and Dasha & Helen for camera operations.
Additionally, we also have a wonderful team of volunteers including Facebook admins, chat moderators, ground observers and more (too many to mention here).
Above all, thank you to our Supporters, for funding this project.

Summary :

In the 2019 breeding season, the resident pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles nested in the Nature Reserve forest, and 2 eggs were laid. The study again revealed delayed incubation between the laying of the two eggs. Both young eagles survived to fledge. The second eaglet hatched, SE-24, fledged at 77 days, before its older sibling and survived to be seen hunting on the Parramatta River and has probably dispersed. The older eaglet SE-23 fledged at 82 days but was found dead in its natal territory at 103 days. In the period of this continuing study, the breeding success has been 45.5%, with an average of around one juvenile successfully fledged each season.

Introduction :

There has been a Sea-Eagle nest in the Newington Nature Reserve at Sydney Olympic Park by the Parramatta River for many years, with a succession of eagle pairs renovating a nest in the breeding season. There are few early records of successful breeding however and several eagles were found dead in 2004. Following the death of a pair of breeding eagles in 2004, necropsy and chemical analysis of tissues was undertaken in order to determine the cause of death.

(Ref: Symons R (2005) Organohalogen Contaminants in WBSE from Sydney.pdf
Roach A (2008) PBDEs in Sediment Fish & WBSE Sydney Harbour.pdf )

Further study was recommended. Their success or failure appears to be closely linked with environmental conditions, particularly the accumulated Persistent Organic Pesticides in Homebush Bay and the Parramatta River. Nesting failure has been caused by infertile eggs, sibling rivalry, Beak and Feather Disease, or Trichomoniasis (see previous reports for more detail).
As in previous years since 2009, the breeding relationships, behaviour and diet of the White-bellied Sea-Eagles were studied using CCTV cameras and by limited physical observation during daylight hours, from the time of nest renovation to fledging and beyond where possible. In early 2019 a new Research Proposal was submitted and all approvals gained.
The Sea-Eagle is listed in NSW as vulnerable under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and nationally in Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as Marine and Migratory.

For the complete report see
Sea-EagleCAM Study 2019