ByContributoron July 14 2015 11:48 pm
Jayson C. Ibañez
Director-Research and Conservation
Philippine Eagle Foundation
In July of 1896, a local Samareño acting as guide to British Ornithologist John Whitehead brought back to camp one of the largest forest birds that Whitehead has ever seen. Then a new species to the western world, this first Philippine eagle specimen from Samar was a jewel among Whitehead’s wildlife collections. It was then one of the world’s greatest discoveries for a biological expedition.
One hundred nineteen years later today, we celebrate the same spirit of scientific discovery to announce another first in the history of Philippine Eagle research and conservation – the discovery of the world’s first active Philippine Eagle nest on Luzon Island.
On April 24, 2015, the first Philippine Eagle nest on Luzon with a downy chick was finally located by Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) biologists andIsnagresearch assistants in the lush lowland forests of Apayao Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region of Luzon.
The nest search was everything except easy. Finding the elusive nest involved a total of 3,456 hours of observations, which is equivalent to watching television 24/7 for over three months straight. Field work spanned five years in rugged and remote jungles. In the field, observers spent time mostly on platforms atop trees, scanning ridges and valleys for the highly secretive national bird.
The tedious nest search tested the team’s skills, patience and determination said PEF Biologist and expedition team leader Tatiana Abaño. “In the thick lowland jungles of Apayao, finding an eagle nest is like searching for a needle in a pile of hay”, Abaño added.