They’re just learn­ing to fly

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

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.

Pic­ture: PORT DOU­GLAS WILDLIFE HABI­TAT

FLEDGLINGS:

baby doves

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