The Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) is our most endangered bird. Regular readers of this blog will know that we had found a nest of this species in our Rio Zunac Reserve in May of this year; scientists and EcoMinga staff have been observing and photographing the young bird since then. Last week the bird learned to fly, and has successfully fledged. We’re thrilled but also a bit sad that our eagles won’t be so predictable anymore. Most likely the young bird will still hang around the vicinity of the nest tree for a month or two more, but after that it will be on its own.
Our staff’s photos are quite exciting (the wonderful banner image in this post is by our guard Santiago Recalde), but we are limited by our equipment. Luckily Bob Ridgely put us in touch with Mark Wilson, a US photographer/naturalist who is writing a book about the large eagles of the world. This very rare species was on his “Most Wanted” list, and when he heard about our nest, he flew down with good lenses and managed to make some beautiful pictures just a week or two before the bird learned to fly. He also was able to take pictures at a second nest near Yanayacu Biological Station in Napo province about 100 km north of here; both nests were at similar stages and at both nests the main food was observed to be guans (large arboreal turkey-like birds). As yet no monkeys have been brought to the young at either nest during our observations.
Here are more of Mark’s beautiful pictures of our birds, plus two wonderful portraits from the Napo nest.
The World Land Trust’s “Forests in the Sky” matching grant fund drive to protect this species’ habitat in our area ends tomorrow, so if you can, please help us conserve this species by donating to their campaign. Your donation will be doubled by the WLT! And a warm thank-you to the many readers who have already donated.