Suc­cess­ful bird res­cue

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - NEWS - Sarah Brookes

THE suc­cess­ful res­cue of a fledg­ling tawny frog­mouth at Parkerville Pri­mary School has em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of leav­ing baby birds near the site of their nest, says lo­cal or­nithol­o­gist Si­mon Cher­ri­man.

Mr Cher­ri­man said the or­phaned bird, which had taken a pre­ma­ture plunge from its tiny nest, had it­self in a flap on the ground when it was dis­cov­ered by school stu­dents, whose teacher Ag­gie Mur­phy placed it in a box.

Susan Haw­son, an early child­hood teacher at the school, then rang Mr Cher­ri­man for ad­vice, who kept the young bird for a few hours be­fore re­turn­ing to look for its nest and par­ents at dusk.

“Search­ing for the cam­ou­flaged nest in jar­rah trees over­hang­ing the school climb­ing frames, I even­tu­ally spied an adult frog­mouth brood­ing a sec­ond chick on its nest about 5m up,” he said.

“I scaled the tree and se­cured the box con­tain­ing its sib­ling to the main trunk.

“I was thrilled when the adult be­gan call­ing to its miss­ing young­ster in the semi-dark­ness.

“The or­phan then be­gan flap-walk­ing its way along the limb, back to its fam­ily.”

Mr Cher­ri­man said with spring in full swing, many feath­ered friends have small chicks mak­ing un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts at their first flight.

“Peo­ple find­ing them grounded com­monly make the wrong as­sump­tion that the birds have been aban­doned, and take them to the near­est vet or wildlife carer,” he said.

“How­ever, this ‘kid­nap­ping’ greatly re­duces the birds’ chance of sur­vival.

“Pro­vided they are not in­jured, the best way to help such an­i­mals is to place them in a box or bas­ket in an el­e­vated po­si­tion (about 1.52m above the ground), safe from preda­tors, where their par­ents will con­tinue to look af­ter them un­til they can fly.

“There is also a wide­spread mis­con­cep­tion that han­dling birds leaves hu­man smell which will cause par­ents to aban­don them. This is to­tally un­true.”

Mr Cher­ri­man said the bird, named af­ter its gi­ant beak, was a type of night­jar noc­tur­nal birds sim­i­lar in ap­pear­ance (but not closely re­lated) to owls.

The res­cued bird at Parkerville Pri­mary School.

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