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Blog posts related to Steppe eagles trapped and tracked from Oman in 2017 can be found on the Egyptian vulture blog

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Steppe eagles dying while on migration

by Mike McGrady and Bernd Meyburg

It is with sadness that we receive a report of about 30 Steppe eagles (and at least one Eastern imperial eagle) being found either dead in Iran, The photos below appeared in Iranian newspapers.  They show some of the birds, including some that are not dead.  Those that were alive were taken into veterinary care.  The birds were apparently sickened when feeding on chicken carcasses dumped along the roadside near Sarvestan (South part of the country).

We have not heard whether the poison has been identified or whether it is a natural toxin (e.g. botulism) or something anthropogenic.  Apparently, such events happen regularly during migration in Iran.  Also, there are reports of similar mortality events in India and along the migratory routes of eagles and vultures in south central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, but we know nothing of the scale.

Landfills and dump sites are sources of food for scavenging birds (indeed our tracked birds have spent every winter at dump sites in Oman and Saudi Arabia.  See earlier blog posts), and could have a positive effect, if they do not expose the birds to toxic material.  This can be achieved by proper segregation and disposal of toxic waste.  In Oman, globally important numbers of endangered vultures and eagles use the landfills and waste transfer sites.  If the food available to the scavengers there is safe, then the scavengers can benefit.

Monday, November 26, 2018

20 months of Steep eagle movement

by Mike McGrady and Bernd Meyburg

After animating the data on the movements of  an Egyptian vulture caught by us in Oman in January (see 31 October posting at https://egyptianvultureoman.blogspot.com/), John Burnside of Sustainable Houbara Management and University of East Anglia has kindly animated the movements of the Steppe eagles over the past 20 months (visit them on Twitter @SustainHoubara  and at sustainablehoubaramanagement.org ).  See below!  Pretty cool!.  (Click on the box in the lower right hand corner to open the animation in a new window. Return by pressing Esc).

After capture in January 2017, the birds migrated and summered mostly in Kazakhstan.  In winter 2017-18 they both were in Saudi Arabia, one in the middle and one on the coast near the Yemen border.  In summer 2018 they both migrated back to Kazakhstan, to areas different than those used in summer 2017.  In autumn 2018 both migrated back to Saudi Arabia.  Look back at earlier blog posts to get details.  Since tagging, one bird has travelled over 30,000 km, the other over 42,000. In the coming days we'll update where exactly the birds are in Saudi Arabia.