Meet Mirrigin, the wedge-tailed eagle

In a heartbreaking event, Mirrigin, a majestic wedge-tailed eagle was injured by a gun shot in 2017.

After plenty of special care and rehabilitation, she is now ready to see visitors at her new home at the Ipswich Nature Centre.

After recuperating from surgery, it became clear Mirrigin would not be able to soar and hunt as she once had in the wild.

As a result, she has been rehomed to the Ipswich Nature Centre and has been undergoing rehabilitation and learning how to sit on a gloved hand to be fed and checked over.

An enclosure has been modified over the past six months by Ipswich City Council carpenters and fabricators.

Image: UQ

The modified enclosure is nine metres long and four and a half metres high, allowing Mirrigin to spread her wings and jump between perches and has an enclosed area built on the side.

While this enclosure exceeds state requirements, her stay her will be a temporary one while her ‘forever home’ is in the planning stages after the council adopted the Ipswich Nature Centre Masterplan in July of this year.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding (pictured) said that it was a privilege for Ipswich City Council to house and care for some of Australia’s most iconic native fauna.

“It is rare to be able to see one of Australia’s largest raptors up close and personal, and now our community can do so, for free, right here at the Ipswich Nature Centre,” Mayor Harding said.

“She is a joy to watch as she extends her massive wings to get around as best she can. Mirrigin is using the space already and she will be able to continue building her strength as she gets around.

“Her rehabilitation has come a long way from when she first arrived and this enclosure will encourage her to spread her wings a little further to fly between perches.”

The materials to build the enclosure were chosen to best replicate the look and feel that wedge-tailed eagles would encounter in the wild.

Strong perching sites at various heights allow the eagles to survey their area and be able to hold their weight.

The water pond set in the sand is indicative of the open-scrub land that eagles look over.

The new netting was researched to ensure that when Mirrigin’s wings come in to contact with it, it does not cause further damage.

The enclosure can be viewed from two boardwalks so visitors to the Ipswich Nature Centre will be able to get a much closer view of Australia’s apex raptor than they could ever expect to see in the wild.

Mirrigin’s story

Mirrigin is a wedge-tailed eagle, Australia’s largest raptor and one of the largest eagles in the world.

After being shot, the eagle was taken to a Brisbane veterinarian for treatment before referral to the UQ VETS Small Animal Hospital at Gatton, due to the complexity of the treatment requirements.

Mirrigin had significant damage to her left wing so she received surgery from a bird medicine specialist Associate Professor Bob Doneley.

“We’ve put four pins in its wing, and an external skeletal fixator bar,” he said.

“During surgery we found no signs of infection, but a lot of dead tissue had to be removed from the fracture site.”

Once Mirrigin was recuperated it became clear she would not be able to survive the wild.

The decision was made that she would be rehomed to a wildlife park because of her calm nature and how well she adapted will undergoing treatment.

She arrived at the Ipswich Nature Centre in 2018 and has been undergoing rehabilitation in an attempt to give her back as much movement in her wing as possible.

Ipswich Nature Centre is every day over the school holidays from 9.30am to 4pm. They will be closed on Christmas Day.

Entry is free but gold coin donations are accepted. As you leave, there is a box on the fence.

Ipswich Nature Centre is in Queens Park on Goleby Avenue, Ipswich.

The centre has a range of Australian wildlife, lush landscaped gardens and
exhibits that have been recreated to represent local bushland and flora communities.

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