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The History

I have known of the Wonderboom Black Eagles for as long as I have lived (which is only from 1981), the earliest newspaper article we could find on further inspection was 11 May 1972, were it is noted that the eagles will not raise eaglets for that year as young lads had broken the single egg that was in the nest.

On further searches, earlier and earlier writings were found and the earliest written account of these eagles being in the Wonderboom Poort is now 1913 where a 'comando member' of the ZUID AFRICAANSCHE REPUBLIJK notes in his journal that he is posted at the Wonderboom Fort and is sitting in the veld just south-west of the Fort whilst his horse is grazing and while he writes a Black Eagle is circling above.

We do have a single unconfirmed report by an old Ndebele gentleman, his ID stated that he was born in 1902 but as he himself said it was only an estimate of how old he was, the government asked him when he was born and he couldn't answer, they then asked him what was the earliest thing he can remember and he answered that his father had told him that he was born before The Second 'Boere oorlog' (Boer Freedom Battle) was ended - This battle ended in 1902 thus the goverment employees agreed that his date of birth would be put on his ID as 1902-01-01.

How old Daniel Mogale was is anybody's guess, but this is what he told me:

He was a direct decendant of Chief Mogale after whom the Magaliesberg was named, his father's land was north of the Magaliesberg on a piece of land that was later sold and renamed Farm Witfontein, he remembers his earliest interaction with the eagles as being called by his Father when he was only a youngster and being told to fetch their goats as the eagles are turning on the wind.  Him and his older brother promtly left to fetch the goats, after their return his father, already a Madala (old man) at this stage entertained them with a story stating that he had fetched the goats for his father when he was not much older than Daniel.  If we are to believe Daniel's story, it would show that black eagles have been resident in the area from at least the mid 1800's!!!

We believe that they had 2 nesting sites as is customary with Black eagles, the one being on the southern face of the Magaliesberg mountain above Mountainview and the second nest also on the southern face but just east of the Apies River.  Prior to 2004 the eagles mostly utilised their Mountainview  nesting site, but this was not a good nesting site as Dr. David Allan's study of 1982-1984 on the Magaliesberg Breeding pairs showed.  He found that there were 13 breeding pairs of which the Wonderboom Breeding pair was the 13th Pair, but in his study he did not show a single chick reared to fledging stage at Wonderboom for any one of the three years that the study ran.

This was our experience as well, whilst they nested in mountain view, their eggs were broken by children throwing stones at the nest from above, egg collecters stealing eggs from the nest or people stealing chicks from the nest and then trying to hand rear them for falconry or as pets.  In 2004 an unfledged chick of 41 days old was removed (STOLEN) from the nesting site in Mountain View, in 2005 we lost our male eagle due to him being electrocuted by the overhead power lines on the western side of the Wonderboom Poort (He was found by PHILDETTE HEUNIS of Tshwane Nature Conservation) the female returned later in 2005 with a young male, but they did not breed from 2005 to 2009 on the Mountainview nest, we anticipated them breeding on the Mountainview nest and continued monitoring the nestsite, but by 2009 we had all but given up on this eagle pair.  At this stage we were monitoring the mountainview site only once per month, THEN in 2010 we got a phonecall from a member of the Akasia Community Policing Forum, that he had spotted three eagles in the 'Poort', we went to the Mountain View nest site again but found that it was unused and delapedated.  We could also not confirm that there was a third eagle, three days later we went into the Wonderboom Nature Reserve to try to confirm that there was a third eagle, we found a lot more than we expected...

On 9 October 2010 we confirmed that the Wonderboom Black Eagles were breeding again but on the Wonderboom Reserve Nesting site, that they had raised a male chick to fledging and that the youngster was healthy and fit.  We got a few photograph's and then the real work started... we got affiliated to the Endagered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and continued monitoring the chick, we chose to name AJABU (Wonder), until he left the area in late 2010, the last confirmed report of the chick was in the area of the CSIR Building, in February of 2011.

In 2011 we had another great success with the fledging of a female eaglet (We named SERABI) on 1 September 2011, she was last seen in January 2012 in the Lynwood RIFT area.

In 2012 we were yet again surprised by the eagles as they laid a three egg clutch, only the third time ever this was documented anywhere, and our surviving chick was named MANNA, last seen in DECEMBER 2012 near Joost Bekker Caravan Park (just west of the reserve).

In 2013 we were surprised yet again, when the eagles laid their second three egg clutch in two years - ANOTHER FIRST - M'LILWANE was the surviving eaglet (a male) and last seen in the vicinity of CSIR in January 2014.

We have erected a Web-Based Camera on the nesting site so that we are able to broadcast photo's and video of the eagles and their young on the nest.

 In 2014 The eagles decided to move to the TELKOM COMMUNICATIONS TOWER Just North-West of central Pretoria and built a nest, laid eggs and incubated but just a few days short of what should have been hatching day, the eagles moved back to their trusted Wonderboom Nest and laid a two egg clutch (double clutching for the first time). We suspect that due to the confined entry and exit into the towers, the eggs might have been damaged bu the adults and thus abandoned.