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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field

"Notes from the Field" provides frequent updates and pictures from our biologists and students who are working in the field or at our headquarters, the World Center for Birds of Prey.

Found 6 entries matching your request:

The brutal life of an African Fish Eagle: the tale of a catch and release... and eventual recapture.

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

Bulrush (as she later became known, for her tendency to rush into situations without thinking them through) was ready to go. Just desperate to go. She had been holed up in rehab after sustaining horrific injuries in a fight. After two weeks, and a massive dose of long lasting antibiotics, she felt it was time. Bulrush, by the way, is a big female African Fish Eagle.

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Back after a break, Lake Naivasha’s woes continue.

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

After what seems like five very long months, I am back at Naivasha for another six-week stint (I have been here for four weeks, but regrettably, have fallen far behind on updating these blogs) looking at the lake’s fish eagles. The analysis and write up of the data I compiled when I was last here went very well, and I have since graduated and received an Msc. in Conservation. It’s come in good time too-I managed to leave London just as winter was setting in!

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Of Fish Eagles and Mistaken Identities

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

Shiv KapilaMy last two weeks in the field have proven both productive and interesting. The last eagle count has showed a relatively stable eagle population, but as the rains are conspicuously absent, the lake level is still decreasing and as a result, I’ve had to keep to open water in areas (particularly the north) and try to spot birds from (literally) miles away.

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Diminishing Lake Levels Spell Doom for Lake Naivasha

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

The second week of my study has passed and things are still running relatively smoothly. I completed the habitat classification of the lake in a day, and managed to conduct another total population count. The lakeshore and its riparian habitat have both been degraded to a severe degree recently due to the rise in numbers of flower farms, local artisanal fishing outposts, cattle dips and increasing human settlements. Some stretches of shoreline are so damaged that they are completely devoid of fish eagles and other predatory birds, waterfowl, and hippos as a result of the disturbance and pollution.

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My family comes to visit

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

This week, after the end of the 4th population count, I see that things have not changed a great deal, and thankfully I talk about our eagles. They are being found where I expect they should be, and the only imbalance is caused by the temporary presence or absence of sub-adult and juvenile birds, feeding on carrion in the North.   As before, the water level of Lake Naivasha continues to decrease dramatically. Obviously this is in part due to evaporation, but mostly because of a combination of constant water abstraction and the current prolonged drought. Flower farms and power stations are still taking water from the lake at the same rate, and in one case, extending their jetty further into the lake to get to deeper waters. Local residents say that if the rain doesn’t arrive, the area the lake covers will be halved in a matter of weeks. This is very easy to believe when you have to get out of the boat and push in shallow water, even if you are nearly two kilometres away from shore in some places. As the water level recedes, the lake perimeter shortens and eagle territories overlap as a consequence, as well as the fact that the eagles are further away from the fish they want. The resulting conflict and hunger means that some pairs are forced to leave, and this could account for the short term decrease in numbers over the the last six months. 

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African Fish Eagles Study

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

Photo by Teeku Patel
This is the first blog since I’ve started here, so let me tell you a bit about myself and my study. I’m currently studying for a M.Sc. in Conservation at UCL (University College London), and I’ll be spending six weeks at Lake Naivasha, in Central Kenya, documenting the population structure and breeding dynamics of the African Fish Eagle. This study will build on existing work by The Peregrine Fund and the National Museums of Kenya. I’ll be focusing on the progression of human activity and development around the lake and how this affects fish eagle populations and behavior. The work is being facilitated by The Peregrine Fund under the supervision of Dr. Munir Virani who has been working on African Fish Eagle population dynamics since 1994.

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