White-bellied Sea Eagles, Sydney, NSW

  • In reply to scylla:

    scylla said:
    On a semi-flippant note (and I do realise how serious and sad it really is) I think they'll need to find an Australian Noel Fitzpatrick to replace the lower leg entirely with a prosthesis, that's the only pain-free solution I can see. Then, SE-26 can fly and perch on its good foot and potter about on two "feet" - in luxury accommodation.

    Sadly, it was not to be.

    I dare not say anything elsewhere - but had action been taken on behalf of the dear bird at a much earlier stage, when it was obvious it was in pain, then maybe the left leg wouldn't have deteriorated thru long-term "over-compensating".

    20 November 2020
    Statement from National Parks and Wildlife Service:
    "This breeding season has brought mixed news. SE25 successfully fledged and left the nest however SE26 was noted to have a malformed right leg during its development. This didn’t hinder SE26's growth or ongoing development, successfully fledging and leaving the nest, only returning at times to be fed by the parents.
    On Saturday 14th November SE26 flew into a semi-enclosed balcony on the 22nd floor of a local unit block. Due to the enclosed nature of the balcony and furniture SE26 could not take off again. The resident contacted WIRES for assistance. WIRES volunteers removed the bird from the balcony and it has now been assessed by a local emergency and Taronga Zoo vets.
    Examinations over the last few days found SE26 has a poorly healed fracture of the right leg. There are also extensive injuries to the left leg, likely caused by overcompensating to support the right leg. SE26 is in pain from its injuries. Unfortunately surgery is not possible and amputation is not an option either since Sea Eagles require both legs to support themselves on the ground and to hunt.
    On welfare grounds the hard decision to euthanise SE26 has been reached. SE26 would not survive in the wild or do well in captivity. Further complications are likely to develop even in the short term.”

    Tiger's Osprey Info & World Bird Cams

  • In reply to scylla:

    Oh that is very sad scylla. Yes, earlier intervention may have helped. But no longer in pain, and that is to be welcomed.
  • Thanks, Scylla, it is all very sad. I had read elsewhere that SE26 had been euthanised. I wonder if Sea Eagles are generally known not to do well in captivity. I know some people say that Ospreys do not do well in captivity although I have heard of a couple examples when a few did alright, but of course, they may be the exceptions to the rule. As for early intervention, I was not watching the Eagle webcam often enough and do not know when it was first noticed that SE26 had a problem right leg. I do remember the agonising time people at several Osprey centres had in deciding whether or not to intervene to rescue an ill chick, and I expect those same issues were discussed by the people overseeing the Eagle nest. There is always the concern about any other chicks in the nest; if they panic when humans climb to the nest, and that chick or those chicks fledge far too early there is the possibility that the result will be 2 or more injured or ill chicks rather than only one. What was the condition with the 2nd eagle chick when it was realised that SE26 had a bad leg? If that other bird was nearly ready to fledge then intervention might have resulted in death or injury for that chick, too. If the chicks are young enough not to worry about them fledging but too young to regulate their own body temperature, and if the weather is awful, the parents might not return to the nest quickly enough and the entire brood might be lost--unless all of the chicks are removed and possibly never returned to their parents. There are other considerations as well, of course. I can only hope that anyone responsible for a nest has to be left to make the decisions (with advice from other experts, I hope!) even if we might do something else or wish they did something else.

    Kind regards, 


  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    Thank you for your thoughts, GARDENBIRDER.  Yes, we've been thru traumas with other raptor nests and there is such a lot to take into consideration.

    Unfortunately, I decided not to cover the early development of the 2 eaglets, it being obvious that #2 was going to have a very hard time.  By the time I picked it up again it was apparent that SE-26 had a big problem and the SeaEagleTeam said that they were monitoring it and liaising with authorities. 

    I put some snaps together for a final tribute, mainly to let YouTubers who don't follow the nest directly know how the season had ended.