Animals Wildlife Caring

Who really needs to be rescued?

The kingfisher or me? “We have a young kingfisher being attacked by the birds”. I know that rescues are seldom straightforward, and as kingfishers are not the easiest birds to care for I set out with some trepidation . “It is OK, it has been contained by the caller” I am told. The garden where…

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How I make a ringtail drey

Ringtails are housed in a drey when they are put into an aviary. In time it will become well used and sometimes rather tatty. At the time of release, therefore, make sure that the roof is waterproof either with a further covering of coconut fibre, shadecloth or artificial grass. Ringtails always have a second entrance…

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Ringtail release and a python problem

I have just spent four months caring for six orphaned ringtail possums. These orphaned babies are pretty and a delight to care for even though they require copious amounts of milk throughout the day and night. When they are starting to self-feed they leave their beanies and go into a sheltered aviary where they start…

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More deaf birds

Unlike me, most people watching a Grand Prix are not aware of the birds sharing the environment. Practice for this week’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne was run in conditions only suitable for ducks.     In fact ducks were swimming and paddling on the grass verges of the race track, and seagulls huddled on…

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Swimming with the sealions

Anchoring is sometimes fraught with hazards, but the most unexpected difficulty arose when we anchored at one of the islands in the Galapagos. This quiet bay has a beach at its head on which the sealions bask in the sun. Our guide and advisor (a mandatory requirement for all boats cruising there) said that we…

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Imping a burnt tawny frogmouth

Imping is a feather splicing technique where a whole feather that matches the broken one is cut to fit with the other feather making a whole feather. The feather shaft is then plugged or splinted internally with something light but strong like thin wire and then glued to the broken feather, thus creating the whole…

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A bird with attitude

When asked what is my favourite bird to care for, I am divided between the tawny frogmouths and the herons. I had been away for four months so I was really happy that the first bird I was asked to care for was a heron chick. Little did I know what I was in for.…

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The Galah with one leg

“Foot” and “Leg” had Christmas dinner with us some years ago. They waited on the balcony rail for a hand-out of seeds. Nature is unkind to those who are not fit and able. The story of “Foot” and “Leg” is a sad yet encouraging one. “Foot” broke his foot some years ago and walks clumsily.…

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Rosellas rearing and release

These week-old chicks were found in a brick wall during home renovations. The parents had chewed through some electrical wiring near the nest and so it had to be removed. Relocating the birds was not successful so I had the pleasure of hand-rearing them. As nestlings they were fed with a slurry of Insectivore Mixture…

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A penguin is in need of help

This particular winter’s day I received a call that “There is a penguin in difficulties off our restaurant”. In the true spirit of a wildlife carer I donned bathing togs and rushed to Little Manly Cove to the rescue. The diners on the terrace had a beautiful view of breaking sea on oyster covered rocks…

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Barny’s Balls

“Barny Brushtail is not well. He has sore places and is very sick.” When I got there Barny was asleep under a pot plant on the balcony. I checked him over – he had very sore and infected testicles. I took him to the vet, who looked decidedly worried at the prospect of handling this…

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Deaf birds

Each time I attend a motor racing Grand Prix I wonder at the persistence of the local birds in living normally while surrounded by horrendous noise and chaos. The French Grand Prix was no exception. Welcome swallows challenged the conditions while feeding and rearing their young in a nest in the garage of the McLaren…

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Killer kookaburra

My baby dove was outside in a cage. I put him on the top of the cage to feed him and out of the corner of my eye I saw a darting movement. I grabbed baby as a kookaburra brushed by my hand missing his “lunch” by an inch. My next encounter with the same…

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Mother brushtail and her growing family

Brushy mum had a nasty hip injury. But with a flat furred baby in her pouch she was kept as comfortable as possible in a small aviary. Mum didn’t move or eat for 4 days but baby was more adventurous and came down to feed from the fruit bowl. Mum then started eating well and…

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Australian Magpie – a Stupid story

Australian Magpies belong to the same family as the Butcherbirds and Currawongs. They are found in areas in which there are trees (used for shelter, nesting and roosting) and bare ground or grassy areas in which to feed. Magpies are omnivores and forage on the ground, turning over loose material, probing into the ground with…

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Spur-winged Plovers or Masked Lapwings

Of the many species of plovers the masked Lapwing is the most commonly encountered. They live in the country, in the suburbs and even on high-rise buildings. They drive their name from the yellow mask on their face. This mask is cream in juvenile birds and develops its full colouring as it matures. The name…

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Bandicoots in care escape

I released two juvenile long-nosed bandicoots in my garden and put a group of four young ones into the “rabbit hutch”. A few days later one of the released juveniles came indoors and I found it in the bedroom. So, I caught it. Having shut the babies in the covered section of the hutch I…

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Ringtail mum and her expanding family

Ringtail mum had a back injury and could not climb. However she looked after her two babies really well in a nest box on the floor of the cage. Two weeks later I got into care a ringtail baby that was about the same size as her babies and was back-riding the other young ringtails…

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White-faced heron rescue

My White-faced Heron story is one of those instances that make all our hard work worthwhile. I was called to a Sydney waterfront home in whose gum tree white faced herons nest each year. This year they raised four young, but at fledging the parents were faced with a problem. The broods do not always…

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Penguin covered in oil

Somewhere, somehow this Little Penguin swam through a slick of heavy bunker-type oil, and was covered from head to toe when found by a little girl with a passion for penguins. Her room, she told me as she handed him over, is plastered with penguin pictures. I first wrapped him in a towel to stop…

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"Scratch" the baby brushtail possum

The mother of this 75 gram brushtail baby was killed by a cat and furless baby was covered in scratches. Hence his name “Scratch”. Because of the infections from the cat scratches, and the fact that he was very young he was nursed day and night and lived for the first few months of his…

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