Recently we were lucky enough to get our hands on ringing and fitting a nestling Secretarybird with a tracking device. Chris and Wilna Campbell initially found the nest in the Polokwane Nature Reserve and on 23d March 2013 my dad, Graeme and I went with Chris to the nest to ring the nestling. The nest was in an Acacia tree and the thorns made reaching the nestling quite a bit of a challenge. The nestling was placed in a cloth bag and brought down safely. It was very well behaved and allowed us to ring it and do the necessary measurements with-out any incidents and return it to its nest 10 minutes later.
Two weeks later, on 8th April, we were fortunate to be joined by Andre Botha, manager of the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, who came to fit a tracking device on the nestling so that we can follow its movements when it leaves the nest.
The tracking device uses cell phone tracking with GPS technology and collects data every 2 hours and downloads the data via the GSM cellular network. While the tagging was taking place, Dr. Ali Halajian, researcher at the University of Limpopo, collected pellets to determine what the nestling was feeding on. He also collected some parasites which he will identify. It was very nice to be part of all of this work.