To manage animals, think like the animals

Years ago someone gave me an interesting book on cows. I thought of this recently when I had a call about a bird trapped in an old building with very high ceilings. The book had said that to manage cows one had to think like a cow. How true that was! How true it is when handling any animal.

This Blue-faced Honeyeater, unable to find his way out of the building windows, was in quite a predicament. When I arrived the shop owner and a friend were trying to catch the bird in hand nets. This is usually futile as the animals become most uncooperative. The lady had opened one of the glass windows so it was horizontal, and had placed food on it but obviously the food wasn’t of the right variety to entice the honeyeater down to window level.

I suggested turning the lights off and leaving the bird undisturbed. This quite often happens as the light from the windows and doors will be more clearly seen as an escape route. Giving him half an hour to see the result, I went off to finish my shopping.

Returning to the shop, the bird was still contentedly sitting up on a perch way out of reach. He should have been getting hungry so I drove home to my garden to collect a lovely bouquet of different coloured Grevillea, eucalypt and Callistemon flowers for him – a smorgasbord for a Blue-faced Honeyeater. I placed the lovely centrepiece on the horizontal window which was less than arm’s length to freedom.

While giving my phone number to the lady, we looked across and the Blue-faced Honeyeater had flown down and was voraciously eating the nectar off the flowers. He heard his family and friends outside and glanced out the window a few times. With a few quiet strategic moves, making sure I didn’t frighten him, the Blue-faced Honeyeater flew out the window.

Thinking like the animal worked again!

Exquisite little animals

The storms and cold weather brought in an influx of little Feathertail Gliders over the last week. It is difficult to survive the elements when so tiny. Each day a call would come from the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital or the Eumundi RSPCA Wildlife Centre. Oops! Just as I type this there is another ‘Feathertail Glider in distress’ call, so back into the car again!

It is very sad when these glider joeys come in as a single young, as the female has two, three, and sometimes four in the pouch. It is tragic to think what has happened to Mum and the other siblings. If anyone finds a dead glider, as with Ringtail Possums, there is usually more than one young.

Feathertail Gliders make their grassy nests in strange places, maybe in the pocket of a coat hanging on the veranda, or a favourite place is in power boxes. Of course, they are mistaken for feral animals such as house mice or rats and sadly this does not help their survival. As a little joey, the tail is the usual round shape, and the flat feather looking tail just develops as they grow.

One of the calls received through the WILVOS 5441 6200 Hotline was for three jelly bean size Feathertail Gliders. They are exquisite little animals! The gentleman who phoned was very upset with the sad situation he experienced. He went to his power box and when he opened the door the female glider ‘flew’ out. Unfortunately, there was a Butcherbird nearby who immediately saw the opportunity for a meal. The three little ones were found in a nest inside the power box. Though so tiny, their fur is starting to grow and, with WILVOS loving care they will hopefully grow into big strong 15gram adults!