It is that time of year again! Fledgling magpies are doing what they should be doing, “learning some ground rules”. While they are on this learning curve, some well-meaning person comes along and kidnaps them. The poor protective parents must wonder what is happening. They miss their chicks when they are taken away.
Very occasionally, fledglings will injure themselves on their inaugural flight so it is good to observe them to see there is no leg, wing or other injury. If in someone’s yard, then it is best to contain the domestic pets and give the birds a few days to perfect their skills. In some cases the young chicks do have to come into care but this is rare. Nevertheless, there are always far too many taken away from their family unit.
There have also been more calls than usual to the 5441 6200 Hotline with concern about plover eggs and chicks. These birds are smart. They are probably correct in thinking that a busy roundabout is a safer place to nest than a suburban street where they will disappear fast with one of the many wandering cats. Obviously the fine for cats wandering out of yards is not high enough! Maybe people just don’t put much value on the poor cats life.
Undoubtedly there will be an increase in plover calls when students return to school. The groundsmen mow the sporting fields beautifully, and the plovers come along and say, “Thank you, what a perfect place to lay eggs”. By the time school reopens, the plover parents have established their territory and do not like invaders. Occasionally, the eggs can be moved nearby and parents will follow. The option is to incubate the eggs. This is what happened to the 4 eggs from the Mountain Creek roundabout. They hatched some days after arrival and are progressing well.
If fledglings are on the ground, just observe them to see there is no absolute immediate danger. With birds fallen from a nest, the same advice applies. These can be put in a manmade nest and hung up in any shelter tree nearby and watched to see that parents return to feed them. It is a fallacy that birds won’t accept their young after humans have handled them. They continue to love their chicks regardless
Donna Brennan Wildlife Volunteers Assoc Inc (WILVOS) PO Box 4805 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q 4560 PH 5441 6200 www.wilvos.org.au