Australia is home to a diverse range of native bird species, all of which are protected. WIRES frequently assists birds such as rainbow lorikeets, magpies, kookaburras, tawny frogmouths, sulphur-crested cockatoos, noisy miners, galahs, sea birds and raptors.

During spring and summer, WIRES receives a significant influx of calls, particularly around breeding season. Many young birds, such as parrots and kookaburras, can fly directly from their nests. However, others, like magpies, currawongs, and noisy miners, leave their nests before they can fly upward.

During this critical stage, it's common to see these fledglings on the ground, where they engage in behaviours like flapping their wings, running, and hopping to strengthen their flight muscles. This behaviour is entirely normal. Despite being on the ground, parent birds continue to provide care, protection, and instruction on foraging for food. It can take up to a week for some birds to acquire the skills necessary to take flight from the ground.

Australian birds hold significant ecological, cultural, and economic importance, making their conservation critical for the environment's and society's well-being.


Why Australian Birds Matter

  1. Biodiversity: Australia is home to a diverse array of bird species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. These unique birds contribute to the country's rich biodiversity, forming integral parts of complex ecosystems. Each species plays a specific role in maintaining ecological balance, such as pollinating plants, controlling insect populations, and dispersing seeds.
  2. Ecosystem Services: Native Australian birds provide essential ecosystem services that benefit the environment and humans. For example, birds like honeyeaters and lorikeets play a crucial role in pollination, ensuring the reproduction of flowering plants. Birds like Fig birds and native pigeons disperse and germinate fruiting plants and seeds. Additionally, birds like kookaburras and magpies help control insect populations, reducing the spread of pests that can harm crops and other vegetation.
  3. Cultural Significance: Birds have profound cultural significance in Australian Indigenous cultures, featuring prominently in stories, art, and ceremonies. They are often regarded as totems, symbols of spiritual connection, and sources of traditional knowledge. Protecting native bird species is essential for preserving Indigenous cultural heritage and maintaining communities' spiritual connections with their land.
  4. Tourism and Recreation: Australia's diverse birdlife attracts birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts worldwide, contributing to the country's tourism industry. Birdwatching tours, birding festivals, and bird-related ecotourism activities generate economic revenue and support local communities. Preserving native bird habitats ensures continued opportunities for sustainable nature-based tourism.
  5. Indicators of Environmental Health: Birds are important indicators of environmental health and ecosystem integrity. Changes in bird populations, distributions, and behaviours can signal broader ecological issues, such as habitat loss, pollution, climate change, and ecosystem degradation. Monitoring bird populations provides valuable insights into the overall health of ecosystems and helps guide conservation efforts.
  6. Unique Adaptations and Evolutionary History: Australian birds showcase remarkable adaptations and evolutionary histories shaped by the continent's unique geological and climatic conditions. From the iconic flightless emus to the colourful parrots and cockatoos, these species have evolved diverse traits and behaviours to thrive in Australia's varied landscapes. Studying Australian birds enhances our understanding of evolutionary processes and biodiversity patterns.


Rescue Information

If you encounter a bird that is featherless, has closed eyes, appears sick or injured, is in imminent danger, or has been abandoned by its parents for over four hours, it requires rescue assistance. Contact WIRES Rescue Line at 1300 094 737 or complete the Rescue Form.

If you spot a sick, injured, or orphaned raptor (e.g., eagle, owl, hawk), maintain distance and avoid touching it. Contact WIRES immediately for rescue assistance.

Australia's native birds are protected, with common rescue cases involving rainbow lorikeets, magpies, kookaburras, and others. During the breeding season, many young birds may be seen on the ground; this is normal behaviour as they develop flight skills under parental care.

If you find a well-feathered young bird behaving normally, monitor from a distance to see if parents are present. If safe, leave it be; if in danger, move it nearby and observe for parental return, exercising patience for a few hours before intervening.


To access 24/7 rescue advice and assistance for sick, injured and orphaned native animals call 1300 094 737, or fill in the online rescue form.

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