Since 2012, Darling Brew has been involved with Megan Murgatroyd who is doing amazing work with the Verreaux's Eagle in the Sandveld and Cedarberg. The project she is busy with involves tracking their flight behaviour patterns using high-resolution GPS tags. The idea is to tag and track members of up to eight pairs of eagles in order to fully assess turbine collision risk and ensure that sustainable development decisions are made.
The team recently trialled our trapping, tagging and tracking methods on two "pilot" eagles - dubbed "Trevor" and "Glenda" - and so far, so good. Both birds were caught and processed expertly by Meg Murgatroyd and Shane McPherson, and are now happily gathering valuable movement data as they prepare for the 2016 breeding season.
Megan had the following to say about the project: "It was an amazing journey, which was only possible with the remarkable support and generous sponsorships I received from so many people and organisations. This not only made it financially viable but also provided encouragement and emotional support to fulfil what I had set out to do.
I’m also thrilled to let you know that my eagle days continue. I have postdoctoral research position at the FitzPatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town, for which I am setting up a new project investigating the impacts of wind turbines on Verreaux’s eagles. During 2015 seven Verreaux’s eagles were killed by collisions with turbines in South Africa and it’s something that I feel passionate about mitigating where possible. In May we launched a pilot project, which involved GPS tagging two eagles in the Karoo, and I’m back again now hoping to tag another five eagles. The outlook is for this to be a 2 to 3-year project. The final output will be a web-based tool for wind farm developers to use that will help to determine wind turbine placement in a way that will minimize collision risk to eagles.
Alongside this I am also taking over the management of an existing project which is focused on investigating the reasons for poor breeding productivity and population declines of the Martial eagle in the Kruger National Park."
Here in Darling we sometimes get a thick mist that comes rolling over the hills that is locally known as a Black Mist. Like the Verreaux's Eagle, it is a rare thing to see and we thought it would be an apt name for our Black Ale. When we learnt of Megan’s project we loved the idea of an association between our beer and her project and jumped at the chance to support her. Darling Brew’s support for the program started with providing “nest cams” that have been helping in the keeping of a watchful eye on the young chicks.