While from media reports the Little Eagle seems to be doing well, there are grounds for concern amongst experts who have been studying this bird for many years. The 3 successful breeding pairs observed recently is a far smaller number than the 13 observed in the 1980s and 1990s. It is currently listed as vulnerable in both the ACT and NSW.
The Little Eagle’s preferred habitat in the ACT is woodland or farmland often near rivers, where not already occupied by Wedge-tailed Eagles. Much of this land is suitable for housing and areas along the Molonglo Valley are being considered for development.
According to Canberra Bird Notes, the reporting rate for the Little Eagle is 55% below the 30 year average (Vol 43, No1, May 2018, pg31). With the Little Eagle Research Group now in place, it is to be expected that greater numbers would be reported now than in the past when research relied on volunteers.
The fact that the long-distance migration of the Little Eagle has only recently been discovered suggests that not enough is known about the species to plan adequately for its conservation. With development proceeding rapidly, it is important that careful research be performed and analysed to ensure the long-term survival of the Little Eagle in the ACT.