|Photographing the Harpy Eagle from a platform in a huge tree|
|Getting ready to climb into the rainforest canopy|
Harpy Eagles are the top predators of the Amazon sky. These massive birds of prey have a wingspan of six to seven feet and, when sitting, have the height of a five-year-old child. Coming equipped with talons the size of Grizzly Bear claws and a huge beak that dismembers monkeys and sloths with ease these creatures clock in as the worlds most powerful bird of prey.
|A mother taking care of her baby|
|The tree with the Harpy Eagle nest|
"Birders spend their whole lives just to catch a glimpse of the Harpy Eagle. We were incredibly lucky to be able to sit in a tree for two days right next to a family of them. What makes that especially rare is the fact that a pair of Harpy Eagles nest just once every two or even three years." Cremer said. "I've seen Jaguars, Tapirs and Puma and have even been the first person to film new species but seeing the Harpy Eagle feed and interact with its chick was really amazing."
At around 4:30am while it was still dark, the team gathered up their photography gear and hiked into the jungle. After a 30 minute hike the team arrived at the tree and started preparing for the climb up. Using climbing harnesses and ascenders the team climbed twelve stories into a huge rainforest tree. What they saw, perched twelve stories high while strapped to a tree, was a Harpy Eagle chick nestled in a four-foot thick, five-foot wide fortress of branches and soft leaves. The chick was patiently waiting for its mother to return and eventually, she did.
After they ate the Porcupine, the mother bird began calling until her mate, a huge male Harpy Eagle, came flying in to deliver half the body a
sloth to the nest.
sloth to the nest.
Fellow wildlife photographers and biologists Lucas Bustamante and Jaime Culebras of Tropical Herping have spent the better part of the last decade photographing wildlife in the Ecuadorian rainforest and were with Cremer to photograph and film the eagle.
"In my country, Ecuador, there is an Amazonian tribe called the Huaorani," Bustamante explained. "They believe that they are descendants of the Jaguar and the Harpy Eagle. They worship these two animals as their gods and view them as being very important to the jungle. After being face to face with an Harpy Eagle it is easy to see why they believe that. Finding myself in the jungle with that mythological creature, was like being in front of a legendary Griffin."
|Baby Harpy Eagle|