Archive for August, 2008

Caring for orphaned birds

At this time of year many Australian species of birds are either breeding or about to breed. In the natural order of these things baby birds sometimes fall out of the nest or are orphaned for a variety of reasons. I regularly get requests for help and advice in these situations. I am sorry to say – but I have no experience or qualifications in caring for wildlife. This is best left to the trained experts. So it has been timely that Tammy, one of my readers, has made this comment on one of my earlier posts.

My name is Tammy and I’m a wildlife carer, I have been raising baby birds for years and love doing it – saving our precious native birds and animals so they can go back to the wild is an amazing feat.
I’ve been reading your blog and I agree that yes, it is best to leave the raising of these guys to their parents ( they do a better job) or if the baby is orphaned phone a wildlife care group nearest you. They are regularly trained each year to do this, as well as licenced by National Parks and Wildlife.
Every spring/summer I spend sometimes up to 12 hours a day feeding tiny baby birds ( all different species but mostly tiny insectivorous ones) and I really enjoy it.
About hand feeding the birds in your backyard – we usually are against this, but in times of need for instance drought, I am known to support feed some birds around our place if i’ve released them. We do this in a way that they still will learn to hunt for themselves and gradually taper off feeding times and amounts slowly so the bird does not starve.
But to do this right, you need the balanced diet that they need to keep them healthy and if you are not trained to do this the proper way, the bird becomes tame ( or imprinted) to you ( or any human being that’s around). This is bad for the bird because it will lose it’s fear of humans/ pets which results in the bird being eventually killed by a predator. ( humans, dogs, cats)
Happy bird watching – Tammy

Thanks to Tammy for this advice.

Look in your phone directory for the nearest wildlife carer. There are also many groups listed on the internet, some of them with articles outlining how to care for the bird or animal until a trained carer can get to you.

Related article:

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Over the last few weeks on my regular travels to Adelaide to attend university lectures I have observed Sulphur Crested Cockatoos on many occasions. Sometimes they are perched on the over hanging branches of trees lining the freeway. Sometime they seem to be keeping a keen eye on the flow of traffic from the vantage point of the light pole.

Most of the time they are busy feeding on the roadside verges. Their numbers can vary from a half dozen or so through to several hundred. Set against the bright green grass they make quite a sight. From time to time they tolerate several interlopers: a Corella or two or several Galahs.

UPDATE: You can buy a large range of items featuring photos of this species – and many others – on TrevorsPhotos, including mugs, tee-shirts, aprons, coasters and many more items.

Grey Butcherbird

Every few days we hear the local Grey Butcherbird calling nearby. From time to time one of them will come into the garden.

Yesterday afternoon I was entertained by one individual calling regularly quite near to the house. This went on for nearly half an hour. I really enjoy hearing its rich, melodious call, especially up close like that.

The resident honeyeaters do not take the same view. Their warning calls indicate that they were upset by the presence of the butcherbird. Perhaps they have eggs or young in a nest somewhere (that I haven’t discovered yet). Grey Butcherbirds take delight in robbing a nest of either eggs or the chicks.

To learn more about this bird and to hear its lovely call, click here.

Here is a photo of a Grey Butcherbird I took some time ago.

Grey Butcherbird

Grey Butcherbird

I and the Bird # 82

The latest edition of the wonderful I and the Bird carnival can be found over at Sycamore Canyon.

As usual there are many excellent bird photos to look at as well as the usual dozens of links to stories about birds from all over the globe.

Alas – there is no contribution from me this time around. [sigh]

Australian Magpies nesting

A few weeks ago we noticed the resident Australian Magpies in our orchard busily gathering nesting material to refurbish the nest they used last year. All has been quiet for the last few weeks – until this morning.

As I was walking down the driveway to collect the newspaper I heard the very distinctive begging calls of a baby magpie in the nest. I guess we’ll have a pair of very busy parents kept occupied feeding the hungry youngsters over the coming weeks.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie