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Archive for the ‘Magpies’ Category

It is spring here in Australia- the time of young; the ‘baby-boom’ season of nature. It is usually at this time of year that we Carers become inundated with animals, especially juveniles and babies.

After a quick look at my last couple of blog entries, I see that the last time I posted was in May. It has been fairly quiet (as expected) up until now. Two weeks ago we received a call to come pick up a couple of Pacific Black Ducklings; the mother had walked off with her brood, and these two had somehow been left behind. Two days later we received another, similar call. Except that this time Mother Duck had been frightened by dogs and had walked off with one duckling tagging along, while the remaining seven were left behind. The residents had already caught them when they rang us. As all the ducklings were around the same age, we put the two from before in with the newest seven so they could grow up together. Unfortunately, one duckling died the next morning (I am unsure as to what was wrong). The remaining eight are well 🙂

Last year we were flooded with ducks, so far this year we have had more magpies than ducklings (though I shouldn’t speak too soon). On the 17th we got in a young magpie that was bleeding a little from the tip of the beak, but was otherwise ok. He is now being crèched with other young magpies by someone else. Most birds do better when crèched with others, and fret when are left alone. Five days later we got in another young magpie, which we also passed on to another carer to be crèched; and yesterday we got in two more magpies from a Vet Clinic (one juvenile, one still a chick to be hand-fed).

In the meantime we also received a Murray Magpie chick that had been found in someone’s roof gutter. They had taken it inside, but by the time we were able to come and get it, bring it home and try to warm it up it was already too late. The poor thing had been chilled for too long. If you are reading this and you one day find an injured or orphaned animal, please remember that the first thing that needs to be done is to keep the animal warm. Warmth is the first requirement. If it is obvious the animal needs immediate medical attention, take it straight to a veterinary clinic or animal hospital. If for any reason you find yourself looking after an animal the first thing to do is to warm the bird or animal up to about 32 degrees (Celsius) with a desk lamp, electric heat pad or hot water bottle. Don’t feed them for at least an hour, and leave them in a warm, dark quiet place to recover from shock.

Before you even think about feeding an animal, make sure you know what you have so you can give them the proper diet and the best chance at survival.

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Just a quick update to say that the magpies were taken to Minton Farm today. There was a change of plans as today was the best day for them to go up there, as everyone was too busy on other days.

All four magpies are well; the youngest one is now with another around his age, while the other three are staying together. They will all be creched and then (hopefully someday soon) will be released together- forming a new tribe. I will miss them. 🙂

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The four young Magpies currently in my care are doing well. The two older ones are in a large Cocky cage (as we don’t have an aviary) and today the two younger ones are going to join them. Hopefully they will do well together; my main concern is that the younger ones may miss out on some food as they are only just starting to eat off the ground themselves. They may be slower than the older two. Soon, they will all sleep outside together too. At the end of the week, or mid-week next week, they will all hopefully be going up to Minton Farm, to join some other magpies in an aviary. There they will be creched, will learn how to be proper, independent magpies together- and then be released together.

Soon I will be going off-call for a little while, so this blog may be a little quiet for the next few weeks- until I go back on call. I may post occasionally on other things, but as I won’t be getting any animals in the posts probably won’t be on Fauna rescue.

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Today I got called out to rescue a duck that had flown through a window and into a shed. The woman who lived there told us that the window was already cracked; however, the duck must’ve been flying pretty fast to actually fly through the glass.

Both my mum and myself were worried that we’d find a duck covered in blood with broken bones, but we didn’t. The duck (I still don’t know whether male or female) was an adult Pacific Black Duck, and was walking around the shed quite calmy. Though, as soon as he/ she saw us come into the shed with towels and a cage he/ she tried flying, crashing into the wall.

Perhaps five or ten minutes minutes later, I had the duck in my arms (though he/ she wriggled out of the towel I had thrown around it) and managed to get him/ her into the cage. We couldn’t see any blood or immediate signs of injury so we took the duck back home for some quiet time, so he/ she could calm down.

After that it was a visit to the Vet, where it was very good news indeed. Actually, it was the news I was hoping to hear. A clean bill of health! (Pun not intended).

The lucky duck was then released into the closest body of water to where he/ she was found, and mingled in with the other Pacific Blacks. I love these successful rescues! 😀

Just a quick update on the magpie currently in my care. He (I say ‘he’ but could be a ‘she’) is eating well, so well he actually ate a large chunk of carrot that was in the dish with the mealworms I got him a couple of days ago. The carrot was meant for the mealworms, and I was worried he was having some difficulty swallowing it properly. He grabbed it just as I noticed it in the dish. Ah, well, he’s ok and is currently asking for more food *sigh* LOL

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I am being kept busy today! Had just finished writing the above when we got called out yet again. This time it was to pick up three Magpie chicks. The man had found them on that stormy day (Saturday?) on the footpath, their nest on the road. Today they had a Vet check at the RSPCA before we were called to come pick them up.

The man looking after them looked up what to feed them on the internet (What would we do without Google?) and had been looking after them since he found them, but as he is busy with work he will find it hard to find the time to look after the Magpies as they get older and need to be taught to learn how to forage for  themselves. However, he has done a very good job! 🙂

It seems, however, that the oldest of the three would be from another nest, as Magpies only have up to two chicks at one time and not three. We can only guess how the third was found with the younger two. It’s quite possible that his nest, too, was blown out of the tree, or he was blown or fell out of his nest, or perhaps his tree came down. We won’t know for sure. What is important is that these three are cuddling together and will now stay together. 🙂

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Just to inform any readers following the progress of my most recent rescue, the young magpie; yesterday I picked him up from the Animal Hospital as the vet gave him a clean bill of health. All he needs is feeding up a bit. He will stay in my care for at least the next week, and then he can be passed to someone with an aviary where he can learn to be a proper magpie- forage by himself and strengthen his wings. I’m glad he’s settled a bit now mind…he’s been making a racket for most of the day LOL

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I have noticed that in my ‘Top Searches’ bar, the words are often “recipe for feeding magpies”. I have a couple of posts that may be helpful. ‘September 12:  Fauna Rescues #14 & 15’ touches on it, and ‘30th October ’09: Another two Magpies, and Feeding Magpies’ has more info on what they are fed whilst in care. To those of you who are interested in learning a little more about them, please visit this helpful and interesting site

http://birdsinbackyards.net/

I often go to this site for quick searches on native birds, their basic information, and also because I like listening to the recordings of bird songs. I like trying to guess a bird by its call 🙂

I’m considering doing one of the surveys on this site. It will be on which birds visit my backyard. Unfortunately I don’t get too many too often that actually come and land in the garden, but there are lots around. Some are more frequent visitors to my home than others.

I seem to live in the middle of a Magpie territory. There appears to be nests in every direction. A family of Australian Magpies are the most often welcome visitors, and every year I see new chicks. Though people in some places are often swooped by these birds, Magpies (like most other birds) will only do so when they feel threatened, and mostly only during breeding season and when they have young around. Basically, they see anyone or anything that comes too close to their nest as a threat and see to it that they chase that threat away from their young.

Just a quick note: Some birds do the opposite. Instead of chasing away the threat, they try to lure the potential predator away from the nest, by making it follow them. Some birds feign lameness to do this.

The Magpies around here, however, are quite friendly. They take little notice of us if we go outside and they are there. Sometimes we even give them some titbits. One female in particular comes right up to you, barely a foot away, while she forages. At one time, I was sitting out the front on the lawn with a couple of Magpie chicks. They weren’t from the same area. One was playing around on the lawn nearby, and one was sitting inside the large cage I had brought them out in. The female Magpie came down to hunt. She heard the cries of the chick in the cage, grabbed some food and tried feeing the chick through the bars. At one stage, she even got into the cage briefly to see the chick, passing barely a few inches from me.

This behaviour has lead my family to believe that it just might be “Maggie”, a chick I looked after about three years ago, before I joined Fauna Rescue. She may recognize a cage from that time. “Maggie” also had a leg injury back then that was healing, but left her with a slight limp. The limp had almost completely gone by the time she was released, but my mum seems to think that this Magpie has the same gait. I can’t be sure if it’s the same bird or not. She was from this area after all, found only a street away, so this clan would be her family. Part of me hopes it is her ‘cause then I’d know that she did indeed survive, and she is now raising a family of her own.

Part of me thinks it isn’t. I remember the day she left. I was outside with “Maggie” when my dad accidentally scared her. She must have caught the wind nicely as she fluttered in fright, because next thing I knew she was up near the fence and then flying over our roof; turning in an arc and out of sight. My dad and I went doorknocking immediately afterwards, asking the neighbours if they had seen a young magpie land in their backyards or nearby, and to let us know if they did. Yes, it was “Maggie’s” area, and, yes, it was possible that she had flown straight back to her nest. But I was still worried because I didn’t believe she was ready for the big world just yet. She couldn’t fly yet when we found her, and she didn’t have a lot of strength in her wings. If she landed in someone’s backyard and a cat or dog came after her, she may not have the wing strength to fly off. I wasn’t even sure at the time whether she would be good at foraging. Unfortunately I can’t remember too well…

…Luckily, at that point, I was keeping a detailed, day-to-day record of how things were going with “Maggie”, as looking after her became my year 12 Community Studies project. It seems she was eating by herself, and starting to warble. She was also making it at least a foot or so off the ground- and it was the plan the let her go from our backyard, as this was her home territory. It was, however, perhaps a little soon for her at the time. I can only hope that it is her that keeps coming back. The female here is certainly beautiful, bold and has character. One of the last times I saw her, she took little notice of me standing there a meter away, jumped up onto a table and got into a rectangular bucket to forage for any scraps in there! I wished I’d had the camera with me at the time. I remember looking on in slight shock that a wild bird would do such a thing! LOL But she’s definitely a protector of her territory. Last time I had four Australian Wood Ducklings around, she would try to charge them, even with me there. 🙂

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