With the approach of the baby bird season, the Bird Care and Conservation Society would like to offer some advice regarding the “rescue” of young birds found on the ground. Some general rules apply:-

If not completely feathered, all nestlings need to be taken into care. All parrots, lorikeets, swallows, martins, doves and pigeons, regardless of feathering need to be rescued as their parents will not feed them on the ground.

If the parent birds are present, young magpies, Murray magpies, noisy miners, wattle birds, honeyeaters (all young which have left the nest and are learning to fly) should be placed in a tree and watch kept (discreetly) to ensure the parents are defending.

If the young bird is found late in the day, take into care, feed overnight (with advice on diet from BCCS) and attempt to reunite with parents the following day.

Juvenile blackbirds often found in suburban gardens, particularly in hot weather, leave the nest when still unable to fly and hide on the ground where the parents feed them. If found, relocate to a protected area of the garden and check the adult knows where they are.

All juvenile raptors (owls, falcons, other birds of prey) should be rescued and help sought for their care.

Mother duck and ducklings found in backyards and swimming pools need to be transported (or carefully shepherded) to the nearest river or pond. Ducklings left in swimming pools will die. The parent duck must be caught first. If the parent flies off it will not return. On release at their new home, let the ducklings out first, then the parent. Do not release ducklings without their parent.

Keep dogs and cats away from young birds. If a magpie is swooping aggressively, find an alternative route or wear a large brimmed hat or carry an umbrella. The magpie is protecting its territory and young and will only exhibit this behaviour for a few weeks.

During hot weather, put out containers of water in a shaded area. If feeding magpies don’t feed them only meat as this results in calcium deficiency in their young.

If unsure what to do, ring the Bird Care & Conservation Society for advice. Phone numbers are in the white pages and on the internet at The Bird Care & Conservation Society has also produced a book called “Caring for Rescued Birds” available for purchase through the Society and available for loan from local libraries.

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