Young Grey Currawongs
9 Comments »29th November, 2009; Category: Baby birds, Garden birds, Magpies and Currawongs
Over the last week or so we have had two young Grey Currawongs visiting the garden almost every day. They are still quite downy and their begging calls are quite pathetic compared to the far reaching, ringing calls of the adult birds.
They didn’t nest in our garden or on our block of land. I guess they nested up the road a short distance where there is a considerable patch of mallee scrub. The adults are regular visitors in our garden every day or so, but I can’t really call them resident as they come and go. We often we hear them calling in the distance.
Click on the photos to enlarge the image.
Amazing! I live in Sydney. Last week I found a young Currawong (I think! It looks very much like the Grey Currawong except with a shorter tail and more fluff). it was in the middle of the road outside my house. It was being attacked by a dozen or so Myna birds and was on it’s back, just playing dead. At the same time, the council was setting up for roadworks so I took the bird in, left it alone to settle for a while, checked it for injuries (it was fine) and then tried to figure out what to feed it and ultimately what to do with it!
I’ve had it for 8 days now. It’s grown a lot. Still very downy on the underside. It’s always hungry and dines on fresh crickets, worms, lean mince rolled in Insectivore mix, blueberries and lettuce or sprouts. I am putting calcium into it’s water and it’s drinking only with a dropper still. i am still feeding it every few hours at least and leaving it food in the hope it figures out it can feed itself.
In the last couple of days it’s keen to test it’s flying skills and I’m trying to accomodate this as much as possible but it’s usually early evening / just on dark (???) and by then it’s in the house (my backyard is not safe at night because of neighbouring cats). And, well, without pants there are some places that just have to be restricted! I go to it, it jumps on my hand and I take it back to it’s perch. 2 seconds later, it starts the flight pattern again – perch to the floor, to 2nd step, to arm of a chair, to table, to bookshelf! We do this over and over until it puts itself to bed.
Thing is, I don’t really know what to expect in terms of…
1. feeding (it still prefers to be fed – only eats worms by picking them up itself – because they move I think. Mostly though, it just tends to scream out and flap it’s wings whenever it’s hungry and I am near)
2. drinking (still relies on me giving it a drink with an eye dropper)
3. flying (should I encourage it get up into the trees outside and take it’s chances? It can fly short points and almost directly up about 60cm at the moment. I’m just concerned it might get up high somewhere (branch by branch) and then it could go hungry for a while unless it comes down or learns to catch its dinner – but that’s life I suppose.)
4. Growing up – how long does all this take? And am I getting in the way of an important process?
I thought I should continue to keep it safe until it’s feeding and drinking by itself. I have worked from home for the last week just so I can feed it regularly and keep it hydrated. I’ve looked everywhere to see if I could find a nest or even see a Currawong about – nothing!
Any suggestions or ideas would be much appreciated. it’s a dear little bird. I’m happy to care for it, but I will also set it loose if that’s what’s best. If I knew what stage it should be at to let it go, that would help a lot as I know it’s not good for it to be so comfortable with people. Perhaps the damage is already done.
Interestingly, the bird shop people and most others I’ve spoken to have had the worst things to say about Currawongs. The man in the bird shop where I get the crickets and worms told me I should wring it’s neck! I didn’t go to wires because someone else said they would euthenase it anyway. Instead, I happened across the story of Curry on this site and thought i could just take care of it myself.
Hi there Leisl,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a long account of your adventures with your bird. Sadly, Currawongs are not that popular with many people. I think they are beautiful birds, but in order to survive in the wild, they do have a habit of stealing eggs and nestlings from the nests of other birds. This upsets many people. Others do not like their persistent calls.
As you’ve discovered, caring for an orphaned bird (I assume this seeing there are no others around) is a high maintenance job. You seem to be doing fine and doing all the right things.
Juveniles can be dependent on adults for quite a few weeks after they fledge. I’d say yours has 4-6 weeks still before it is fully independent and not only able to fly, but also able to forage for itself. They are mainly insectivorous but will eat fruit (apples, bananas etc preferably mashed at this point) and meat (eg small lizards, baby birds). Try including egg mixed with mince meat in the diet.
In fact their diet is very similar to the Australian Magpie. The following article has over 230 comments from my readers with lots of tips on food etc about caring for baby or orphaned magpies. You might need to set aside an hour or so to read through them all!!
Better start bird proofing things around here then! I’ll read the magpie thread.
P.S. the egg in the mince is a real hit!
[…] Young Grey Currawongs […]
I am looking after a Baby Currawong that fell out of a 200ft tree. Its mother and siblings are still around our backyard but they don’t pay him any attention at all. I have had him for 4 weeks. He can fly a bit but has a left droopy wing – we let him out everyday now but he finds it really difficult to navigate back down to the verandah and just sits in the tree squwarking until eventually he figures it out but sometimes it takes him over an hour and he is really hungry. No matter how much you coax him he won’t fly down – it seems like he is scared or doesn’t know how – he mainly jumps from branch to branch on the way up. Not much real flying. He can eat critters himself when my husband turns the woodpiles over for him but he has to still be fed mainly by us. He cant pick up a piece of meat even if it is tiny. He also spends a lot of time resting on the ground and there are feral cats out here so I am worried but don’t want to keep him in the avery all day. He still likes being cuddled at night in a furry blanket before going to sleep. That calms him down. What do you think about this not being able to fly down again. Thanks for reading. he is about 5 -6 weeks old we think.
Anastasia – any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks for visiting my site. I don’t know anything much about caring for injured or orphaned birds. With my limited knowledge it sounds like the bird you are caring for needs specialist help. can I suggest a visit to your local vet for advice? Be warned – they can be very expensive and will often recommend that the bird be put down. Another course of action which is cheaper and friendlier is to contact your nearest wildlife carers – look online or in the phone directory.
Sorry I can’t be of more help – this is out of my realm of knowledge.
Thanks Trevor for your advice. I really don’t know if he is injured but I will take him to the vet -she doesn’t charge for wildlife up here. But I don’t want him put down if he is not suffering and not in pain or misery. He enjoys his life, he loves sitting in the sun and having a bath and he plays soccer in his aviary and talks his special language to us and is generally chirpy and happy. But the mature Currawongs are swooping on him now which is making him even more scared about flying or coming down. I feel responsible for him because I saved him from certain death as we find him at night on the ground – and he couldn’t fly at all then.So now I will try to find the right environment for him – I know there are carers around here.
Thanks again for your advice. I love your site. There are lots of birds where I live. King Parrots and Yellow Tail Cockatoos to name a few. I have always loved birds. Thanks and best wishes, Anastasia.
what a fantastic site. thankyou all, contributors as well
Hi I too am raising a juvenile currawong.ive become concerned as it’s not wanting to fly nothing wrong with it! I think reading comments they tend to be not confident or a bit lazy I know he will get there but am worried about leaving him out also due to cats. I have an aviary that he want to sleep in every night and won’t fed himself I am cutting down on hand feeding and just put food in cage or when he is in tree he will ‘glide’ down for a meal. Very strategic maybe lol