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Harpies Eagle

Harpia harpyja


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Rare throughout its range, the Harpy Eagle is found from Mexico, through Central America and into South America to Argentina. In Central America the species is almost extinct, subsequent to the loss of much of the rainforest there.[10] In rainforests, they live from the canopy to the emergent. Within the rainforest, they hunt in the canopy or sometimes on the ground, and perch on emergent trees looking for prey.


Although I was not in Ecuador to see wildlife or to take pictures, I was thrilled to see this eagle in the village I stayed in. The village hours and hours away from the nearest town. It was in the heart of the jungle. What I found most fascinating about this eagle, was why it was being kept by this family. The family that kept this bird, so that it would cry out a warning to them should anything dangerous come near their hut. While I was there, I saw one bushmaster snake, and this eagle saw another and let out a cry that caused the man of the hut to come running and to dispatch the snake in short order. I am not sure if this is something that is common among the people who live in the rain forest or not, I do know I was intrigued by it. I was told, that it was being trained to catch and retrieve monkeys for the family. The people of this village were hunter/gatherers and took monkeys and other wildlife as needed for their sustenance. The families of the village also kept monkey and tarantula spiders in their huts to help keep the bug population in check. Exact location of village not fully known. Located somewhere between Coco and Shell. Traveled to village down dirt oil field road, and then took dug out canoe with outboard and traveled up river for nearly 2.5 hours to get to village.

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williefromwi 12 years ago

MelissaFerguson. I have had very few opportunities to travel abroad, most of my trips have been to go and help others, in multiple ways. This trip was no different. Imagine what it would be like if you had an 2 out houses ( pit toilets) for 70 people in your village. Among the many things I and the others who went into that jungle village did, was to provide many of the materials, and then helped them begin to build 6 additional ones. If I could ever go back, I would in a heart beat, even for an extended time.

MelissaFerguson 12 years ago

What an awesome experience this must have been for you! Great photo and story, thanks for sharing!

williefromwi 12 years ago

Thank you so much for looking at and commenting on my spotting SatyenMehta.

Wild Things
Wild Things 12 years ago

Awesome spotting and story!

BrandonBlount 12 years ago

Willie, I wish I could have been in your shoes during that trip! What an amazing adventure to say the least. As for the translation, Google Chrome has a translation tool setup so that the majority of countries that have internet usage, and also have access to googlechrome, can quickly and effortlessly translate the text so that it's readable in their language. (wish I would have thought of doing something like that AGES ago)! :-)

williefromwi 12 years ago

LeanneGardner, most of my photos are rather ordinary. I only have a few that are in your words amazing. I am thrilled I am able to share them with a world wide audience, and only wish that I had both the time and the knowledge to translate this into as many different languages as are represented by those who use this sight. What a fun job that would be, making captures and then writing out the information so that each person who wishes, could read about it in their own tongue.

LeanneGardner 12 years ago

Oh wow! Now he is special! Your photos are amazing Willie. I look forward to seeing them every day when I log on, especially the lovely stories behind them. Thank you very much for sharing such special moments & such beautiful creatures :)

williefromwi 12 years ago

Brandon, I was in the village for nearly two weeks, I was able to go fishing with them, and was able to see how they used blowguns to take monkeys. I wish I has been able to watch this bird hunt. I was there for other reasons, and had I had the time to do so, would have been thrilled to see how they used it to take monkeys. The trip is something that I will always remember. The easiest way to paint a word picture for you, is to say it was something straight out of national geographic magazine. The wonderful people of this village were amazingly adept at using only what they needed, and getting all that they needed to both survive and quite honestly thrive in what many would consider a survivalist conditions. If I could I would have spent a year there living among them.

BrandonBlount 12 years ago

Excellent Spotting. I have seen some accounts of which I am unable to find at the moment of harpy eagle falconry dating back to when Europeans came to the new world. (several of the rainforest tribes used them much in the same way as this tribe was using this one today).

Spotted by

Parroquia Puerto Murialdo, Provincia de Orellana, Ecuador

Spotted on Apr 24, 2006
Submitted on May 18, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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