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Reuniting is always the best result

Monday, September 21, 2015

Arborist retrieving magpie nest ©Shannon KaiserAt this time of year WIRES rescue call line and our volunteers are at their busiest. We expect to take more than 27,000 calls for help over the three months of spring. Many of the calls are about displaced chicks or chicks found unattended on the ground. The best result is always to reunite with parents wherever possible.

A tree was being removed in Southern Sydney and a WIRES volunteer was able to be on site to help as the tree loppers and the property owner had all expressed concern for a family of magpie chicks in their nest high up in the tree.
The tree loppers were genuinely concerned about the birds. It was their second day cutting down the tree. 

WIRES volunteer, Shannon, was told that they probably wouldn't be able to get the birds down until at least 10am, so he went to get a pot plant case from a nearby hardware store and used it to create a makeshift birds nest. 

The tree lopper took the cage, lined with towels that Shannon had with him, and he hoisted it up to the arborist  in the tree, who was able to grab the nest, and place it in the cage. He then quickly closed the lid and lowered it down, and then the parents started swooping him. 
Chicks in makeshift nest ©Shannon KaiserShannon reported that they "tried to place the cage with the chicks in view of the parents, but they kept swooping and didn't come down to their chicks." 

The tree being cut down was in a suburban backyard. We set up the ladder to a tree in the front yard and hammered some nails into a stump about 4m high. Then using utility cord, the makeshift plastic nest was laced and secured - another nail was hammered in and bent to keep it sturdy. 

Parents return to feed ©Shannon KaiserThe chicks were taken up to the new nest, and placed into the makeshift pot-nest while remaining in their original twig nest. 
After around 10-15mins, they started calling and a parent magpie came along with some food. The parent shuffled along the electric wire and made its way to the chicks. 
After struggling to feed the babies a few times, the parent got the hang of it, and kept coming back with more food. 
By around 1pm it was clear the parents and chicks were successfully reunited in their new home and it was time to go. 

The property owner was very relieved and the tree loppers were happy to have been able to help, despite being swooped. Read more about swooping magpies.

It was all in all a great result, the family was still together.

Read more about what to do if you find chicks on the ground this spring, find out what you can do to help and when it is best to call WIRES.


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