Eagles, fires and the future

Eagles, fires and the future

A little prior to this time last year the land was parched all around here, There was a carpet of black leaves over the forest floor and there were holes melted in the free flight roof. There were embers burning, and the reality of how lucky we had been here, and how lucky Higher Ground had been, was still setting in.

The memory of abandoning my precious charges still haunts and upsets me. Moving all those eagles  and other creatures twice, then having to run away and leave them on the third occasion when the fire  came up the escarpment so quickly and with no warning, is something I will never forget.

Seeing the RFS map the next morning, my birthday, showing that the fire had gone straight through here was beyond description.

The best present of all though was arriving home to find that it had swung about some 500m from home, and headed away. Sadly that meant other friends lost homes and property, but the birds were safe.

From the ashes rose a greater awareness of our precious Australian wildlife, and a desire to help those of us who have voluntarily devoted much of our lives to caring for our amazing creatures.

The Wildlife Heroes Project, by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, opened up grant applications for fire/emergency response related projects.

Ross, aviary builder extraordinaire, and I sat down the back one arvo and sketched on the ground plans for an emergency response and holding aviary. If the birds had been able to be contained in housing that facilitated immediate capture, but still gave them a sense of freedom and allowed activity prior to evacuation that would be perfect. So we combined what Ross could build and I needed and we came up with a beauty!

All will be revealed in due course 😊. Here are a few starter images and one of a young White-bellied sea eagle that is exactly the sort of bird this facility will help.

When completed it will also have multiple other uses already planned and factored in, as well as a great holding facility for all types of creatures being looked after by carers in a fire path to relieve them of that sense of hopelessness I experienced.

Bouquets to the Foundation for NPW, you have helped so many of us to create some wonderful response facilities, and I for one am extremely and genuinely grateful.



Peggy McDonald
Wildlife Group
Wildlife Rescue South Coast - Higher Ground Raptor Centre