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Harpy Diaries: Remembering the first steps of Elpis, the Harpy Eagle!

Juan Diego

Hi everyone. Normally Dani was writing about the Harpy Eagle monthly, now is my opportunity to keep you in touch of what’s going on with this amazing family of harpis.

This month Elpis turns 11 month old, yes, close to one year, I can’t believe how fast the time runs. 

How everything starts...

Everything start with the enthusiastic idea of Dani and Mark to involve the harpy eagle in the AmazonCam component of the Wired Amazon program. Trying to find this amazing bird in a wild is a challenge, there are ornithologists, bird watchers and enthusiastic of the eagles that are trying to find one in the wild for many years. We’re very lucky to have a couple of these eagles nesting close to our jungle lodge Refugio Amazonas, so at that moment the question was, what do we need to make this real? This a unique opportunity in the world!

Well, nothing, just to create the recording and power system 30 meters above the ground and inside the total wild conditions of the rainforest. 

The decision gets reality when the eagle was hatching the egg. We were against time, the hatching period takes only two month, could sound a lot of time but having all the components of the HarpyCam on its place was the real challenge. The climbing team was Mark Bowler, Diego Balbuena and me. I've got the chance to  make the last climb to finish the electricity details the 22th of June and I realize one of the most amazing scenes of my life.

harpy eagle nest and chick

When I get into the crown of the Shihuahuaco Tree were we have the camera I turn to take a look of the nest and I saw the mom sited on the edge of the nest looking inside. I saw a cotton ball moving and two pieces of egg shell. The small size of that chick, the way the mom look its new born, the perfect timing to be there recording since the first day of Elpis, everything was amazing. I thing that is going to be impossible to find again an experience like that in the wild. This set the fence very high. Know, eleven month after, the picture of the first day of Elpis keep in my mind.

On December 4th of 2017, I went to the mammal claylick to turn on the recording system, was 5:45 am. I found the local guide Boris Guerra with a group of guest looking through a telescope on direction to the harpy nest. I ran close to them and I saw from the ground the chick on the mom’s favorite perching fork, 5 meters above the nest. Wow, this chick flies with 5 month and a week, normally they fly outside the nest between 6 and 7 months. Another remarkable experience with Elpis, have the opportunity of being there during the first day of fly.

Since that day everything change on the dynamic of the eagle nest...

Elpis, which get the new ability of flying start discovering the surroundings of the nest, flying between the trees, facing different animals different landscapes. At his point Elpis know how to fly perfect, how to eat by its own, which could be dangers and with ones are best source of food. Know close to one year is practicing how to hunt by its own, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Their parents still coming back to the nest bringing food but once each two weeks.

99% of the time we have in our recordings an empty nest, we are very excited for what would happened next, when the couple will laid a new egg? They will use the same nest? Elpis will become the new owner of the nest? Which will be the new territory for the eagle now? 

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Give me your comments and keep in touch for more new about this amazing couple of eagles. 

And of course, if you´re thinking (or even dreaming) of Amazon Travel, you can chat with the Amazon travel experts here. We will help you get there.

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