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Survey finds Sea-Eagles in the desert

A recent online community survey has confirmed White-bellied Sea-Eagles can still be found along the Murray River and associated creeks and billabongs.

As part of an online survey conducted by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA), people recorded sightings of the White-bellied Sea-Eagle

While the White-bellied Sea Eagle is known to live on the coast and in the semi-arid zone along the Murray River, the survey helped gather more information on where the species was currently being seen in the Victorian Mallee.
A total of 64 percent of the reported sightings were located along the Murray River.

Mallee CMA Board chair Joan Burns said this survey has provided valuable information on the White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

“Historically, White-bellied Sea-Eagles have been seen near large water bodies such as lakes, but as the online survey was conducted during drought conditions, this was not replicated,” Mallee CMA board chair Joan Burns said.

“However, with the recent rainfall and flooding events across the landscape, it is likely there will be an increase in the number of birds observed at large water bodies in the area.”

The online survey, which was conducted during 2009 and 2010, attracted widespread interest from the community, with input from people in the Mallee CMA region and further a field.

There were 25 confirmed sightings of White-bellied Sea-Eagle, with 15 of these sightings within the Mallee CMA region.

The online survey resulted in several nest sites being located within Victoria and New South Wales. All were reported to be active.

Sightings of adult and juvenile birds were often observed in the same region, suggesting White-bellied Sea-Eagles may be successfully breeding and fledging young.

The online survey can still be accessed and community members are encouraged to continue to register sightings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle. 

The online survey was made possible with funding from the Victorian Government. The results will be used to help target future works to protect the White-bellied Sea-Eagle. 

For further information please contact the Mallee CMA on (03) 5051 4377. 

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