Eagles soar after successful release

December 2, 2021 BY

Spread your wings: Two wedged-tail eagles were rehabbed and released by Donna Patterson and Neil Morgan from Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service on Monday. Photo: PETER WEAVING

CIRCLING the sky above Harcourt North are two wedge-tailed eagles that have been through a remarkable recovery.

The birds of prey were critically injured and rescued about 10 months ago by Wildlife Rescue Emergency Services.

One had been poisoned and another shot with a shotgun and had to have eight pellets removed from its body.

Founder of WRES Neil Morgan watched on, emotional and proud, as the eagles he personally rehabbed took to the sky.

“I’m rapt, that was great,” he said. “If you can give anything a second chance it’s not a bad feeling. I get a real buzz out of it, just doing what I’ve done today.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for 10 months, getting these two out just because of what they’ve gone through, poisoned and shot. Getting through that, it’s not a bad effort.”

This year, WRES has rehabbed eight wedge-tailed eagles, with two still a couple months away from being released.

One wedged-tail eagle spreads its wings after it’s release.

“It was a high number but we’ve had higher, we’ve had 14 in previous years and we had one year where we’ve only had one or two in and that was good,” he said.

Mr Morgan said there have been numerous cases of wedg-tailed eagles being poisoned, especially in Gippsland where one farmer poisoned over 400 eagles by injecting insecticide into livestock carcasses.

“It takes ages for the poison to get through the system,” he said.

“In the 10 months, the one that was poisoned I had to sit with it and hand feed it. You can imagine handfeeding a wedged-tail eagle, it’s quite a feat.

“If those talons grab a hold that’s it, they won’t let go, it’s like you’ve got a four-wheeled drive sitting on top of you, the pressure.”

WRES has previously rescued kangaroos, koalas, possums, wombats, and other native birds.

The small team of volunteers responds to emergency calls and has previously helped rescue animals during events such as floods and bushfires.