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Photo safari – wedge-tailed eagle


The wedge-tailed eagle – a truly formidable bird of prey whose impressive beak and talons are tempered only by the fact that it looks like it’s wearing flares. This individual, at Caversham Wildlife Park, spent a while dragging its beak against a log. Feel free to hazard a guess as to why – sharpening, perhaps?

6 thoughts on “Photo safari – wedge-tailed eagle

  1. This is the best pic in the photo safari series so far. You have a real talent for photography I doubt many professionals could have taken better shots.

    Slightly off topic but this picture reminded me of a recent youtube video where a sparrow hawk drowns a magpie. Have you seen it? It’s a great example of the intelligence of birds, the sparrow hawk is struggling on the ground with a magpie almost as big as itself and is unable to finish the magpie off, til the sparrow hawk spots a small pool of water nearby and literally drags the magpie over and uses the pool to drowned it. One note of warning however the magpies screams for help are rather disturbing so the video is not for the overly sensitive.

    Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Ycdt-agOA

    Just thought you may be interested.

  2. beautiful shot, Ed! that’s one terribly impressive raptor.

    for what it’s worth, wiping the beak against an object is probably about cleanliness. none of their limbs are very useful for cleaning those last bits of dinner off the beak.

  3. I agree with leigh in believing the scraping is likely to be for cleaning. We have a hand reared weiro who scrapes the sides of his beak after eating, and sometimes preening.

    Our bird was hand fed, so we cleaned the beak after feeding by pinching with our fingers, as he disliked having food left on his beak and would shake it off. Now that he is weaned and eats seed by himself, he scrapes himself.

    Generally for wearing down or sharpening he will chew on sticks, anything metal he can find or furniture!

    Great shot by the way. I have some shots of Wedge-tails in the wild up North in WA, but you don’t ever get that close to them!

  4. Our budgie scrapes her beak as well. Part of it is probably due to cleaning something we can’t see on her beak. But it occurs to me it might just feel good — the vibrations going up into the sinus. Probably like a good scratch from the inside out. On days that the pollen count here is astronomical, I would LOVE a good scratch from the inside out!

  5. The eagle’s beak-rubbing is known as “feaking” in falconry lingo, and serves (as leigh and WA_side guessed) primarily to clean the beak. Over time it does wear down the beak, so captive hawks and falcons that lack appropriate surfaces have to be given beak trimmings. Nice photo! Eagles’ eyes are so beautiful.

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