An avid bird watcher can't believe his luck after finding a large feather once belonging to a wedge-tailed eagle — a bird with cultural significance for many across Australia.
The feather, which is larger than the man's hand, was found in his backyard on Thursday in Garden Island Creek situated 57 kilometres south of Hobart, Tasmania.
"As a bird watcher it's a pretty exciting find," he told Yahoo News Australia. "Not many birds have feathers this big."
He posted the picture online and was promptly urged to keep the "special" feather as it is deemed "lucky".
Largest bird of prey in Australia
With a wingspan reaching more than two metres, the wedge-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in the country and among one of the largest in the world, however, populations in Australia are diminishing.
In Tasmania, the total adult population is estimated at less than 1000 birds and is a threatened species, with the bird facing major threats across the country.
Wedge-tailed eagles culturally respected
The decline in the species is especially troubling since the bird holds cultural significance for many First Nations Australians and is revered as a totem by some mobs.
Birds feature frequently in First Nations storytelling and the impressive flying abilities of wedge-tailed eagles, capable of soaring at altitudes of more than 2000 metres above ground according to the Australian Museum, have long made them a respected symbol of protection and guidance.
From the Awabakal people — Indigenous to the NSW Hunter region — to the Kulin Nation of south-central Victoria, many First Nations communities have felt a sense of connection to the wedge-tailed eagle, with the bird even featuring on the Northern Territory's Coat of Arms.
When asked what he will do with the large feather, the Tasmanian shared it will be displayed pride of place in his family home.
"I'll keep it preciously with our collection of feathers, skulls and other nature 'treasures' we gathered with my seven-year-old son and partner over the years, and display it once our house is built," he said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new weekly newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.