Over the last few weeks of Junior Landcare we have been learning all about Birds of Prey and their roles in the environment.

For these lessons we have been very lucky to have been joined by James Tozer (who the children have now aptly nicknamed Mr Birdman.) James holds a university degree in Conservation of Birds of Prey and his knowledge of this subject has provided a wonderful learning experience for us all!

The main species that we have focused on for these lessons include Eagles, Falcons, Owls and Hawks. We learnt that the Wedge-Tailed Eagle is the largest eagle in Australia, with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres, and they can fly at altitudes of up to 2km high!

We also learnt about the Australian Boobook, which is the smallest and most widespread owl in Australia. I also never knew that Australia is home to the Barking Owl – which literally sounds like a dog barking. Unfortunately the Barking Owl is becoming less common along the Eastern and Western coasts of our beautiful country.

Our lessons wrapped up with us inspecting and analysis pellets from a White-bellied Sea Eagle, in order to examine and determine this particular bird’s diet. The children were amazed to find many pieces of bone and hair, which allowed us to determine that this bird had recently eaten a few mice or rats.

We also learnt that the biggest threats currently facing many of our Birds of Prey include tree clearing and habitat destruction, followed closely by impacts with vehicles. So please keep an eye out on the road for these beautiful creatures and be sure to slow down if you see one.

All in all, these recent lessons have been a lot of fun and we have all learnt so much about these magnificent creatures and their habitat and food needs.

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Rhiaan Ashton

Education & Events Coordinator