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#396017 - 12/31/10 09:52 AM NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE  
Joined: Dec 2006
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elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
TOLEDO DISTRICT, Belize – Scientists recently discovered an active Harpy Eagle nest in the Maya Mountains of Belize. Thought to be locally extinct in Belize since 2000 and extirpated from Mexico and most of Central America north of Panama, Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja) are designated as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are considered “Critically Endangered” in Belize.

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#396024 - 12/31/10 10:29 AM Re: NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
very very cool....

#396025 - 12/31/10 10:30 AM Re: NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,160
Phil Offline
Phil  Offline
I spent a week at La Milpa a few years back and there was a programme running where they had released half a dozen Eagles into the wild in Belize and researchers who were based there were trekking through the bush for days on end to follow their movements and nesting sites. Can't remember the programme name but it was something named after a Hawk or Eagle and was Central America wide and an NGO style operation. Their stories, trials and tribulations were fascinating.

#396029 - 12/31/10 10:44 AM Re: NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,198
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
The Eagle itself is awesome.
check it out in action.

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#396197 - 01/02/11 11:30 PM Re: NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,435
Cooper Offline
Cooper  Offline
Not a promoter of Zoos..I spent 4 years here before by request of friends visiting did go to our Zoo. I have since been back 8 times,,,its a great Zoo with a magnificent Harpy Eagle,,the Zoo strives to take in animals that need to be rehabilitated.

#396597 - 01/07/11 09:31 AM Rare harpy Eagle nest found in Belize  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,808
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

The Harpy Eagle is the most powerful bird of prey in the Americas, but it is classed as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and as “critically endangered” in Belize. That is why it is major news that, for the first time locally, an active Harpy Eagle’s nest with a chick was discovered in the Bladen Nature Reserve. The find was made by the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE). It is also big news for international conservation, since Belize is the furthest north that Harpy Eagles have been recorded breeding. These birds a wingspan of up seven feet when fully grown and weigh up to twenty pounds. But the effects of deforestation and hunting, has almost wiped out the eagle from most of Central America.

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#396612 - 01/07/11 09:57 AM Re: NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,808
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Harpy eagles nest in Belize for the first time in over 60 years

Scientists have confirmed the presence of a harpy eagle nest in the Maya Mountains of Belize. The discovery represents the most northerly breeding pair in the Americas, and signals a comeback for a species which has become locally extinct in much of Central America due to human activity.

With wingspans seven feet long and the capability to take down prey as large as monkeys and sloths, harpy eagles are one of the largest and most powerful birds in the Americas. Once present in lowland neotropical forests ranging from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, harpy eagles became largely extirpated in much of Central America during the last century due to forest fragmentation and hunting. The last confirmed sighting of a harpy eagle in Belize occurred in 1958. However, their presence in Belize was again confirmed by the 2005 sighting of a juvenile by scientists at the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE).

“We had just started hiking that morning when someone said, ‘look at that huge bird’. I looked through my binoculars to see a large, gray and white eagle with a double crest. It was magnificent, and I was speechless. I told my colleagues that it looked like a Harpy Eagle, but that they weren’t supposed to be here (in Belize) any more”, said Jamie Rotenberg, an ornithologist at the University of North Carolina Wilmington who was part of the survey team.

Since then, more eagles have been brought in from captive breeding populations in Panama, bringing up the total confirmed presence to four individuals.

From top to bottom: A pair of adult harpy eagles in 2010, by Sharna Tolfree (BFREE); a juvenile harpy in 2007, by Steven Brewer (BFREE); the newly discovered nest in 2010, by William Garcia (BFREE)
Make that five.

“We were out doing our regular counts and observations when we heard a Harpy Eagle calling”, said William Garcia, technician project leader of the BFREE team which made this latest discovery. "It seemed to be fixed in one location, flying occasionally but returning to the same tree."

The team climbed an adjacent tree from where they were able to see a nest.

“It was an incredible sight to see the small, white nestling Harpy Eagle chick in the nest,” said Garcia.

The nest is located within the Bladen Nature Reserve which is co-managed by the Belize Forest Department and Ya’axché Conservation Trust, a community oriented NGO based in Punta Gorda. The nest is under continual monitoring to record the birds' behavior and protect the nest from human disturbance.

"The return of breeding Harpy's suggests that effective protection of core Harpy habitat in Belize is having tangible benefits and represents a rare victory for conservation in Belize." said Lee Mcloughlin, Protected Areas Manager for Ya’axché, “We are committed to partnering with BFREE to carry out whatever measures are necessary to ensure the Harpy Eagle population in this area is maintained into the future for all of Belize."

#400288 - 02/15/11 09:17 AM Re: NEST OF RARE HARPY EAGLE FOUND IN BELIZE [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,808
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Researchers Find Active Harpy Eagle Nest in Maya Mountains of Belize

UNC Wilmington Professor Part of Team Newswise — Jamie Rotenberg, UNC Wilmington assistant professor of environmental studies, along with researchers at the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE), is studying what is thought to be the first active Harpy Eagle nest ever recorded in Belize, where the predatory birds were previously thought to be extinct.

Two adult Harpies and one five-week old nestling were discovered in November, when Belizean technicians were patrolling the Bladen Nature Reserve in the Mayan Mountains of Belize. The area is rugged and remote, but scientists have searched for signs of the bird there since 2005, when an adult was first spotted.

Harpy Eagles are known as the most powerful raptor in the Americas, weighing up to 20 pounds and reaching a seven-foot wingspan. They hunt prey as large as monkeys and sloths for food. However, due to deforestation and hunting, Harpy Eagles are typically missing from most of Central America's rainforests, where they once freely ranged. They are designated as "Near Threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and considered "Critically Endangered" in Belize.

It's currently unclear how or why the birds managed to nest in the area. According to Rotenberg, the active nesting site is a sign that the reserve is functioning to keep wildlife safe from dangers associated with human interference.

"Biologically, the presence of the Harpy pair and chick signifies an in-tact eco-system that extends to the highest predator," Rotenberg says.

Following the spotting in 2005, BFREE, in conjunction with Rotenberg, submitted a grant proposal to The Nature Conservancy Belize Program, proposing an innovative science-based program that would focus on avian conservation and awareness. Funded in 2006, the Integrated Community-Based Harpy Eagle and Avian Conservation Program links Belizeans to the protected areas of land adjacent to their homes through specific environmental awareness projects. Belize is a small, English-speaking country about the size of Massachusetts, with approximately 40 percent of its lands protected in reserves and parks.

Recently, the program has grown to include collaboration with The Institute for Bird Populations in California, BioDiversity Research Institute in Maine, and York University in Canada. Rotenberg has taken approximately 50 UNC Wilmington students to Belize to work with BFREE as part of the study abroad program he offers. Undertaking undergraduate internships as well as master's level projects, students have worked closely with the bird study site and the community awareness program.

For more information, please visit and

In a frame from a video, a mother harpy eagle guards her nestling. Credit: William Garcia, BFREE.

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