Close view of a wedge-tailed eagle on a dead branch, with head lowered, staring at the camera. Out of focus in the background is green grass and other vegetation. Photo: Alfred Schulte, taken at Inala on Bruny Island.
Photo: Alfred Schulte, Inala, Bruny Island

13–15 & 27–29 May 2022

Where? Where? Wedgie!

Decades ago, there were estimated to be as few as 1000–1500 Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles remaining. There’s since been a lot of efforts to reduce human impacts on these birds, but we don’t know if these are working. Are numbers now recovering, stable or continuing the suspected decline? You can help find out and guide conservation action, by joining in the Where? Where? Wedgie! surveys in May.

Why are Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles endangered?

A typical Where? Where? Wedgie! team of three people beside a forest practise for the surveys. One is holding a camera with a long lens, one holds a pair of binoculars and is pointing to the sky, and the third has a clipboard. They are all looking in the direction that the second person is pointing in. One of the team is Clare Hawkins and another is James Pay. Photo: Justin Smith.
Photo: Justin Smith

The Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle — which has a few different features and habits from its mainland relative — faces a number of challenges in its life, including:

  • Disturbance near a nesting eagle — even a curious walker as far away as a kilometre — can result in loss of eggs or chicks.
  • Removal of nest trees or surrounding vegetation (the same nest may be used intermittently over decades).
  • Risks of collisions with infrastructure and vehicles.
  • Indirect poisoning from rodenticides and lead.

It’s not yet clear whether current conservation actions are sufficient to allow eagle numbers to recover. Through Where? Where? Wedgie! we hope to find out, and also encourage more people to help reduce these challenges.

May surveys: Where? Where? Wedgie!

Two men standing on rocks surrounded by grassland, by a large lake in remote southwest Tasmania, with mountains on the far side of the lake. They are in the area doing Where? Where? Wedgie! surveys. They are smiling at the camera and one of them has a pair of binoculars. Photo: Nick Mooney.
Photo: Nick Mooney

Get your family and friends outdoors this May, to help track Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle numbers, together with Tasmania’s other birds of prey, white cockatoos and corellas.

Each year, our surveys mobilise people of all ages and levels of experience, within schools, clubs, companies, governmental and non-governmental organisations and more widely across the community, to get a measure of these birds’ population numbers across Tasmania. Our measures, compared over multiple years, help assess the progress of current protections and conservation effort, and help ensure that future efforts are as effective as possible.

The surveys take place on two long weekends (Friday–Sunday) at mid-May and end-May. If you can recognise these birds (or you’ve got the time and interest to learn) and don’t mind getting out and about around Tasmania for a few hours of surveying, why not book a survey square, get out into nature and contribute to the science?

Next step: find out how to take part in Where! Where! Wedgie?

A teenaged girl and a grey-haired man stand in dry grass by a field in the Tasmanian Midlands, with two paddock eucalyptus trees nearby and a mountain in the far distance. The girl is pointing to the right of the photo, towards the field, and the man is looking in the same direction. Photo: Clare Hawkins.
Photo: Clare Hawkins