Aerial eagle nest search surveys
We’ve just wrapped up another busy season conducting aerial nest searches for threatened Tasmanian wedge-tailed and white-bellied sea eagles. These searches are undertaken as part of a broader process of eagle nest management in Tasmania; knowing the location and condition of nests is key to this, as breeding birds can be sensitive to disturbance and productive nests are a high priority for natural values conservation.
The time to survey for nests is the non-breeding months between March and June, with the most effective and efficient method being a survey from a helicopter. North Barker are highly experienced in the application of aerial nest search surveys from helicopter, having multiple staff with many seasons of experience and collectively hundreds of hours of flight time.
It is not a joy ride of course and finding nests can be challenging. To help us in our searches we use the highly informative nesting suitability model developed by the Forest Practices Authority, where areas are scored according to the probability of containing a nest. The model is informed by variables like forest type and topography (slope, aspect and relief). Although we most often find nests in areas that score highly, this is not always the case… after all, eagles build nests, not models! The nest below was found in a very low scoring area right on the edge of modified land.