They’re just learning to fly
THE Wildlife Habitat has been inundated with baby birds people have ‘‘rescued’’ who were probably just learning to fly under the supervision of their parents.
In the last fortnight the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat has received 30 birds that people have rescued, and while some did need their help, majority of the baby birds would have been fine if left alone.
Wildlife manager Clare Anderson said it is important for people to understand the process of development for the baby birds, known as fledglings, who have their feathers and almost ready to leave the nest.
‘‘Fledgling means they are taking their first flight and within the first stage of doing that they are not strong fliers and won’t get up and fly away if people walk up to them,’’ Ms Anderson said.
‘‘People are picking them up and bringing them in thinking they have been abandoned – in most cases the most ideal scenario for an animal is to be raised as it would be naturally.
‘‘The first thing people need to do is look for the parents. They are more concerned about humans but they will be close by and usually very vocal, which is a good indicator they are trying to look after their baby.’’
Ms Anderson said when people see a baby animal their instinct is to help, but sometimes the best thing to do is leave them be.
‘‘If the animal is in danger then you should intervene to assist, this may just be to place it up higher onto a tree where the parents can still look after it and where it’s away from potential threats,’’ she said.
‘‘We want to ensure the bird isn’t grabbed by a cat or dog, so if it’s in your backyard with animals then it probably is best to bring the baby in to us.’’
Ms Anderson said it is very rare that parent birds will abandon the fledglings if they have been touched by a human.
‘‘Generally it’s not the case, if you can clearly see a bird has fallen out of the nest put it back in, making sure it’s the appropriate nest,’’ she said.
‘‘Even in a lot of cases we recommend if you can’t see a nest, duplicate one, hang a bucket in the tree and see if the parents come down.’’
Coming into the wet season, strong winds can sometimes blow the offspring out of the nest or blow the nest down, but if they are not injured, are fully feathered and have parents nearby, it’s best to leave them be.
If you are unsure whether a baby bird on the ground or on a low lying branch is in need of help, Clare welcomes people to give the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat a call on 4099 3235 to have a chat.