The Queensland Garden Expo held at Nambour each year is always a busy time. Each year the Sunshine Coast Council invites WILVOS to be part of their Living Backyard corner of the Expo. This is my favourite area with a lovely group of people representing environmental and wildlife groups. I missed seeing Rob Raabe, our local native bee guru, this year. Rob has done some great native bee workshops for us over the years. The Garden Expo is a time when we catch up with all these people we only see once a year.
It was really interesting to see the interest in our wildlife. For the first time no one complained about possums in their roof, wallabies eating their bushes, bandicoots making their yard look untidy or pythons lying in wait to eat their domestic pet!
The main concerns this year were about roaming cats in suburban and rural areas or roaming dogs. One gentleman on small acreage outside Tewantin was particularly angry about property owners who arrived in the area, bought one or two dogs and then allowed them to chase the kangaroos and other wildlife. Sadly, the only solution to this problem is for a trap to be borrowed from the Council and the animals to be trapped and taken to the pound. Sad for the animals, because they have owners who have no respect for their pets’ safety and welfare.
Soon the busy ‘baby bird’ season will be upon us, but meanwhile some of our carers are enjoying watching the development stages of their little kangaroo joeys. We laugh as they hop around on the grass on their long gangly legs. The speed they can gather at such a young age is amazing. They have this overwhelming desire to develop those muscles they know they’ll need in the future.
Today is a sad, but very rewarding day, as we take four big healthy eastern grey kangaroos to their release site. Macropods are often in care for twelve months so it always tugs at the heart strings to see a hand-reared mob returned to the wild.
July sees WILVOS with a new website coming up any day, and a new postal address after twenty-five years. This was due to the closure of the Nambour West Post Office. For those enquiring about the new post office box address, yes, all mail will be redirected.
It is always good to spend a little time talking to members of the public when they ring up WILVOS hotline. We find out so much more that could be relevant to the advice that we give.
A lady rang me for some advice. She had been a widow for 7 years and had been feeding the wildlife at her house for the past 28 years. The concern was that a new neighbour had moved in and was threatening to report her to the relevant authorities for feeding birds. I calmed her fears on that front and then asked a few questions. “What type of birds were they?” The lady explained that it cost her $40 a week to feed the birds, for the morning and afternoon feeding.
Maybe some more questions may shed some light on the matter? One of the complaints was about the noise the birds made. The neighbour did work so I suggested just one small feed, as a treat, rather than so much food which could make them dependent on it. It serves no purpose to tell people to cease feeding, after such a long time, as that won’t happen and they won’t listen to any advice once the negative feelings surface.
Another suggestion I made was that this treat could be given to the birds after the lady went to work. It may take a while for the birds to realize that their morning and afternoon buffet wasn’t there, but at least the neighbour could be told that some steps were being taken to lessen the problem.
I was a little puzzled at the cost of $40 per week to feed these corellas, so I asked how many birds the lady was feeding. The reply – “ABOUT A HUNDRED!”.
I almost felt sorry for the neighbour – all that noise and faeces!
Claude – WILVOS Hotline
The welfare of our local wildlife is very dependent on the observations of members of the public. Everyone is now more aware of the effect that human impact has on our native animals.
Sometimes our caring natures are not always in the animals’ greatest interest. Feeding of wildlife is best done only in extreme weather conditions when food sources are in short supply.
Feeding stations for birds are breeding grounds for disease. It just takes one sick bird to come to the feed tray and this can result in the illness of many other birds visiting the same feeding station. The best thing we can do to help our wildlife is to improve the habitat, by planting seeding, fruiting and flowering native trees indigenous to our area. I have seen so many new birds visiting my yard as native trees have flourished. I don’t see much point in having a garden of plants that don’t provide food for our native wildlife.
It has become a common practice to feed possums in suburbia also. Sadly, this means the possums congregate around houses where they are often fed incorrect food. Bread – why feed an animal bread? Waterbirds have especially suffered from dietary deficiencies due to the constant throwing of bread out to entice the birds around.
Someone brought me an injured possum last week and was totally surprised that the possums main diet was leaves. As the possums like to stay near the easy food source, instead of doing their own foraging, a new problem appears. Too many possums inhabit one area and compete for food and housing. This has led to an increase in dermatitis in wild populations which is a tragedy. As over-population occurs there is also more territorial fighting. Injuries and stress dermatitis are becoming more prevalent as a result.
Destroying the habitat of wildlife is a constant threat to species, so we must all do what we can to minimize this impact. Planting up our house yards with native food grasses, shrubs and trees is one way we can all make an amazing difference.
The closing down of the Nambour West Post Office sees WILVOS with a new postal address!