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February 2013

FEATURE! Kookaburras FEATURE! Willy Wagtails Kookaburra in flight with takeaway food Photographed by Suzanne Lowe

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v1n6 Part A


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For insec insectt and meat meat-eating t-eating birds bir ds including mag magpies, gpies, kookaburras, k ookaburras, wr wrens, enss, robins, robins, waders w aders & bir birds ds of pr prey. p ey. Provides Pr ovides the ele elevated vate ed pr protein, otein, vitamins & miner minerals als rrequired equir q ed in these bir birds’ ds’ diet.

T o ffeed eed e as a supplement mix 2 teaspoons (10g) 10g) of To Insec tivore Rearing R ound d minc e Insectivore Mix with 10g of gr ground mince meat or fish. Moisten as nec essary y. necessary. This mak es a balanc ed diet with no need for for o makes balanced additional supplementation. pplementation. A vailable in 250g, 1k g & 5kg 5kg packs. Available 1kg

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• Use ass a high protein, protein, live-food live-fo ood substitute subsstitute fo or all bir ds. for birds.

food for

Possums & Gliders Juveniles

Adults

• 2 stages of Possum Milk Replacer to reflect the nutritional needs of different aged young

• High Protein Supplement for omnivorous species (eg Brushtails, Sugar Gliders) can be applied to fruit or plain biscuit to balance out protein, vitamins & minerals in the diet.

• Possum <0.8 for younger joeys not yet emerged from pouch, furless to fine fur; eyes closed to just opened; ears drooped. • Possum >0.8 for older joeys emerging from pouch; short soft to dense long fur, eyes open; ears erect.

ph/fax 08 8391 1713 email wombaroo@adelaide.on.net www.wombaroo.com.au

• Small Carnivore Food for insectivorous species, made as a moist crumbly mix. • Lorikeet & Honeyeater Food for nectivorous species (eg gliders, pygmy possums) made up as a liquid nectar.


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About the Artist... Mel Hills is a locally grown artist who grew up in Orford and went to school at Triabunna. She has persistently lurked about the East Coast ever since. Mel specialises in wildlife art, scientific illustration and watercolour landscapes. Murals are also a sideline. A need to explore, discover and understand led Mel to link studies in both art and science. She says “For me there is no boundary between the two disciplines; both require observation, analysis and experimentation. They’re very complementary.”

The Inspiration “I love to share my joy in the landscape and the wonders that surround us. I get a bit caught up in the detail of pieces sometimes, wanting to get it just right. I love the challenge of trying to capture the essence of something and show that to others.

I’m just a kid who likes to say “hey, look at how cool THIS is” all the time. ”

The Creation Mels' favourite tools are her sketchbook, camera and her microscope. (Although the microscope is a little less portable.) Of her images she says, “Each image comes together differently. Some are achieved on the spot, when I have a close encounter with a creature that captures my attention. My landscapes are increasingly influenced by the plein-air sketching I love to do. Generally though, things are a little slower. Often I have an idea for an image and it will take me months or years to gather enough information to create the painting. I do a lot of field sketching, where I gather information about habits and behaviours. I also take lots of photos and use museum specimens to ensure

details are correct. Once I have all the information, the finished image is roughed out and then built up in successive layers in order to get the complexity, depth and detail required. ”

What’s next? In the future I’d love to explore a total landscape more fully. – It would be fun to do an Antarctic study, or study an island such as Macquarie, or Maatsuyker – in all weathers, with all their occupants. Exploring the Desert and the Kimberley are also ideas that have been growing in my mind for some years. Then there are also those bugs I keep drawing, I might have to do something with them..

For more information about Mel, her product range or to just check out some images please visit her web site: www.melhillswildart.com.au


Publisher’s words This is such an amazing issue for us – it marks our anniversary of one whole year!! We know you will enjoy Issue 6 Part A – Part B coming soon! We want to thank our readers so much, not only have you read our magazine – but the support you have given us in the form of photos, stories, sending us lovely comments and more than anything else you have shared our ups and downs. This issue has also been a difficult issue to get out – originally the December issue of 2012 – our magazine graphic designer and friend had his mother fall seriously ill – he flew to be by her side in hospital and later went back for her funeral. For us this has also been a difficult time. My husband had a heart attack (recovering well now), but our son was diagnosed with a fatal illness, something unnamed-to-date that causes 'sudden death', a virus/disease that attacks the chromosomes in his little body (chromosome 12 and 16 are already affected). They say things come in three's so we hope it is over for now.

On a happier note, we started a subscription for the magazine – we offered the magazine 24 hours to 2 days before anyone else receives it – A GREAT SUCCESS. Our wonderful subscribers have had the privilege of choosing the front cover for this issue of the magazine – they were given 6 covers and from those 6 covers they sent in their choice – the winning cover is the one that is the front … if you would like this opportunity, then come and subscribe and support us too. Subscriptions have a 20% discount this issue and everyone who subscribes goes into the draw for a fabulous giclee print from Gerardine Simmons of a Gorgeous Koala. We hope to start a forum soon for our subscribers – so stay tuned – you will only know about it if you are a subscriber so subscribe today! http://wildliferescuemagazine.com/subscribetoday.html In our last issue we had a wonderful prize of a stunning set of earrings of the 'Tasmanian Devil Pawprints” offered by Rocklily Wombats (ad on page 4). We are proud to announce the winner is: BRONWYN HILLHOUSE.

Andrea Devos

All Story Writers in this Issue receive a copy of 'Puggle in a Pocket' by Kevin Baker. - We want to thank our writers for their wonderful story – please vote and let us know your favourite story as the winner recieves a gorgeous book: The Mahogany Glider by Jill Morris – a hard cover book illustrated by Sharon Dye in pencil and watercolour on coffee-stained paper. A factual natural science presentation which includes gorgeous short stories from wildlife carers of these endangered marsupials. Winner of Issue 6 – Readers Choice Story is Lynda Staker with her great story and photos - 'Kooky's New Beak'. Your prize is the great children's book by Jill Morris – 'Kookaburra School'. Next Issue Story Writers will receive a thank-you gift of this adorable book by Jill Morris – Silly Baby Magpie – a comical adventure of a magpie fledgling who has to learn the skills to survive. Colourfully illustrated throughout by Heather Gall – we know you will really enjoy this beautiful children's book – get your stories into us today! Did you know that you can get these Wildlife Rescue Magazines in print? More information will be available in the next issue of the wildlife rescue magazine

Silly Baby Magpie Jill Morris This is an amazing children’s book by Jill Morris – Silly Baby Magpie – a comical adventure of a magpie fledgling who has to learn the skills to survive. Colourfully illustrated throughout by Heather Gall – thank you to 'Greater Glider Productions' for once again donating to us this wonderful prize. To receive a FREE copy of this book – email us a wildlife rescue story complete with photos to andrea@wildliferescuemagazine.com and if your story is chosen to be published you will receive a copy of this book – FREE! Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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Wildlife Rescue Magazine Publisher/Advertising 0413 587 613 Email info@wildliferescuemagazine.com Website www.wildliferescuemagazine.com Wildlife Rescue Magazine is published six times per year. Publisher Wildlife Rescue Magazine Phone: 0413 587 613 Website: www.wildliferescuemagazine.com Editor andrea@wildliferescuemagazine.com Andrea Devos Production Artizen Image Design, Brisbane, Queensland Advertising Wildlife Rescue Magazine Phone: 0413 587 613 Email advertising@wildliferescuemagazine.com Website: www.wildliferescuemagazine.com © 2012 The materials in this publication constitute Wildlife Rescue Magazine copyright. Unless otherwise indicated, you MAY download the full magazine, store in cache, distribute, display, print and reproduce materials from this magazine in an unaltered form only (retaining this notice and any headers and footers that appear with the original materials) for your personal, noncommercial use or use within your organisation. No part of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted in any form or by any means for Commercial Use without the prior written permission of the publisher. Copyright Act 1968 ©Wildlife Rescue Magazine 2012 If you have questions about the use of this magazine or would like to apply for permission to use articles from this magazine for commercial use, please contact: info@wildliferescuemagazine.com The intellectual rights in all new material vests in the author or creator of such material. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this publication may be reproduced by any process, or any exclusive right exercised, without the written permission of Wildlife Rescue Magazine. Authors warrant that they are the owner of all intellectual property rights relating to all material supplied by them, their officers, servants and agents to Wildlife Rescue Magazine. Authors hereby indemnify Wildlife Rescue Magazine in respect of all actions, proceedings, claims and demands made against Wildlife Rescue Magazine by any person arising from the use by Wildlife Rescue Magazine of any material submitted to Wildlife Rescue Magazine by the authors, their officers, servants and agents for publication in Wildlife Rescue Magazine. The articles represent the view of the authors and the editorial represents the view of the editor. Other opinions expressed in this journal are not necessarily those of the Editor or Wildlife Rescue Magazine. Please note that the material presented in this online magazine has been prepared for the general information of the reader and should not be used or relied upon for specific applications without first securing competent advice. Wildlife Rescue Magazine, its members, authors, staff and consultants, do not represent or warrant its suitability for any general or specific use and assume no responsibility of any kind in connection with the information here in. WARRANTY & INDEMNITY – Authors, advertisers and/or advertising agencies upon and by lodging material with the Publisher for publication or authorising or approving of the publication of any material INDEMNIFY the Publisher, its servants and agents, against all liability claims or proceedings whatsoever arising from the publication and without limiting the generality of the foregoing to indemnify each of them in relation to defamation, slander of title, breach of copyright, infringement of trademarks or names of publication titles, unfair competition or trade practices, royalties or violation of right to privacy AND WARRANTY that the material complies with all relevant laws and regulations and that its publication will not give rise to any rights against or liabilities in the Publisher, its servants or agents and in particular that nothing therein is capable of being misleading or deceptive or otherwise in breach of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974. ADVERTISING CONDITIONS - See advertising rates available at www.wildliferescuemagazine.com

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Contents

v1n6 Part A

Articles

Feature stories COVER STORY

63 DIY GUY A simple pole camera

30 Kookaburras in care Andrea Devos

Readersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stories 11 Milton the Microbat Mary Crichton

Glen Burston

COVER STORY

77 Herbivore nutrition supplements

80 Willy Wagtails Jodie Blackney

66 Pelicans and gannets Helen Burrell

Beverley Young

70 Galah hit and run WIN A PRIZE!

25 Win a Koala giclee print WIN A PRIZE!

29 $100 worth of Burston Blue Teats

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

v1n6 Part A

Nora Preston

73 Tully and Wilma Michelle Thomas

Page 7


Burston Blue

Silicone Wildlife Teats Teat Size and Description Mini – suits 1-3mL syringes Medium Mini – suits 5mL syringes Large Mini – suits 10mL syringes Xtra Large Mini – suits 20mL syringes Offset

Price $ 1.00 $ 1.00 $ 1.50 $ 2.00

Teat Size and Description Price A Teat 2 Coats $ 3.50 B Teat 2 Coats $ 3.50 B Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 C Teat 2 Coats $ 3.50 E Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 F Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 2 Coats are suitable for Young Animals Only Teat Size and Description Price #1 Teat 2 Coats $ 3.50 #2 Teat 2 Coats $ 3.50 #2 Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 #3 Teat 2 Coats $ 3.50 #3 Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 #4 Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 #5 Teat 3 Coats $ 5.00 2 Coats are suitable for Young Animals Only Comforts Small Medium Large

Comforts Extra Soft $ 3.00 $ 3.00 Small $ 4.00 $ 4.00 Medium $ 5.00 $ 5.00 Large

Postage Postage will be advised

Mini Teats

Teats A-B

Comfort Teats

Teat C

Teats 1-5

1 Kangaroo Pinkie and Wallaby 2 Kangaroo over 1.5kg and larger Wallabies 3 Kangaroo 3kg to 5kg 4 Kangaroo 5kg to 10kg 5 Kangaroo 10kg to weaning. A Flying Fox's less than 10 days B Flying Fox's to weaning C Unfurred Possums, Bandicoots, Antechinus and Small Mammals E Small Koalas and Wombats F Larger Unweaned Koalas and Wombats Mini Teats – suitable for tiny pinkies, bandicoot, wallaby and numbats

Teats E-F

Payment by direct deposit please. Either online, or you can go into your own bank and ask them to do it for you. Note: Direct deposit can take up to three days to reach our account. Orders are Usually 7-10 Days. Account Name: GJ + JM Burston Commonwealth Bank BSB: 066179 Account No: 10173533 In Reference: Please put your Name. Email: dollar.downs@bigpond.com Inquiries to Jo: 0409 086973 RMB 161 Perup Road Manjimup W.A. 6258


e lif Ex e R cl es usi cu ve e M to ag az in W i ld

Wildlife Pendants

Also available as keyrings, zipper pullers and mobile phone dangles

Gorgeous 100% Tasmanian Timber Pendants on a synthetised leather cord necklace... Brought to you by TWR. Exclusive to Wildlife Rescue Magazine. Get yours today while stocks last â&#x20AC;&#x201C; go to http://wildliferescuemagazine.com/pendants.html

Only $7.50ea + $2.00 p&h Available at wholesale prices for markets. Get the price today! Email: wildliferescuemagazine@gmail.com


N a t i o n a l Ko a l a C o n f e r e n c e 17-19 May 2013 Westport Conference Centre Buller Street Port Macquarie

Their Future is in Our Hands A conference focusing on all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation Research findings, translocation and conservation of wild koalas

Support our work Volunteer

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Donate

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Mitton the Microbat

Mary Crichton â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Adelaide Bat Care

'Mitton' looking well and ready to be released after seven weeks in care.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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‘Mitton’ is a juvenile/sub-adult Gould’s Wattled Microbat. (Chalinolobus Gouldii)

A Gould's wattled Microbat her elongated joint raised, exposing her nipple.

M

itton was found on the ground at Henley Beach, exposed to the elements, with the resident’s dog hot in pursuit! She had total fur loss. (reasons unknown) Her wing membranes were dry, chalky and clear. Applications of a little Ungvita for her dorsal/back area and Solosite Gel were applied to her wing membranes. Her wing membranes also showed signs of infection – bacterial or fungal. It was very important for Mitton to be in the sunshine every day for approximately half a hour (she had the opportunity to hide in a light blanket if she was feeling insecure – see pic). The sunshine would hopefully help her infection heal. Diluted Betadine was used initially to clean all the infected sites. Manuka Honey 10+ was also applied in tiny amounts to Mitton’s wing membranes, as Manuka Honey is known for being used for fungal infections. ('Grifulvin V' was not recommended on this occasion by my local, dedicated and learning vet as it was advised that it may be too strong.) Eight days later, Mitton’s fur was starting to be seen through her dorsal area. The ventral area (underneath) took longer to regrow. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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Five more days and Mitton is munching on mealworms extremely well. She is now well hydrated at every feed, receives her feeds of crickets, mealworms and ‘woodies’ cockroaches (mealworms of course the favourite on the menu). Another few days later and Mitton is looking so well now. Her fur is steadily growing back evenly around her dorsal/back area. Stomach fur still a little slow growing back. She is a lovely little groomer and has been very patient with all the topical applications and cleansings at every feed. Upon examination of Mitton’s wing, her membranes are darker now, are looking much more hydrated, and are healing quite well. Four weeks in care and Mitton is happily self-feeding on mealworms that have been dipped in Insectivore/ Missing Link/Small Carnivore Mix (alternating) with a little added water. Heads are taken off just temporarily until she is able to feed from a D cup. Mealworms were also supplemented with Wombaroo Insect Booster prior to feeding to Mitton. After seven weeks in care Mitton the Microbat is flying very well and eats and drinks extremely well. Mitton was given the final approval for release by our Senior Veterinarian at the Adelaide Zoo on 23 January 2012.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

Mitton on arrival, applications were applied to her back and wings

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February 2013

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Elongated joints mark the young age of a juvenile/sub-adult microbat. Here you can see the fungal damage from the infection on the microbats wings.

Mitton was put in the sunshine every day for approximately half an hour, with hopes it will heal the wings faster.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Eight days later and Mittonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fur is being seen through dorsal area. February 2013

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Mitton munching on mealworms, crickets and 'woodies' cockroaches.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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Mitton' enjoying a ‘woodie’ cockroach – of course mainly the innards were consumed.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Two weeks in care and her fur is steadily growing back evenly around her dorsal/back area. Stomach fur still a little slow growing back. She is grooming herself well now. February 2013

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Mittonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s' wing is being examined. Her membranes are darker now, look much more hydrated, and are healing quite well.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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Mitton' on Day 18 in care, showing us how well she uses her hanging and holding on ability! Such a sweet little patient!

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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Mitton having her wings checked daily â&#x20AC;&#x201C; unfortunately they are still patchy.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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A couple of days later, checking Mittonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wing membranes outside in the light. Still not happy with the dullness of her wing membranes but her infection has cleared. You may notice the patchiness throughout her membranes.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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Mitton outside again being checked over. She is such a beautiful little patient!! Still not happy with how the membranes look. She has been through a lot of topical applications of sorts.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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VO TE Finally Mitton is looking ready now for release after seven weeks in care.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Did you love this story - vote for your favourite story in Issue 6 part B. The winner will receive a wonderful book called "The Mahogany Glider" by Jill Morris.

February 2013

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A Kanga A Day

April 2011 and October 2012 Dolly then and now - wiser and more confident, but still recognisably and quintessentially herself.  Photos by Brett Clifton

RECEIVE DAILY PICS AND STORIES LIKE THIS ONE Sign up to receive a free daily picture of Brett Clifton’s beautiful Eastern Grey Kangaroos also known as Forester Kangaroos in Tasmania. Email to brett@brettclifton.com


“When I draw wildlife I see more than just the animal – I see a soul.” RMNR

Ever since I was a child my fascination and wonder for wildlife has never stopped. I continue to be in awe of the diversity of wildlife that is a part of our world and for the unique traits and strengths each species exudes that assists me on an unfolding path of self-discovery. When I draw, my expression flows through where I feel at one with the animals that I portray as I enter their world. e first thing I notice is their eyes. When I look deeply and study their expression I connect with their beauty, innocence and power. “ e koala is my favourite Australian animal even since my childhood. e most exciting thing for me when I lived in England before moving to Australia when I was eight was receiving my Australian Nana’s home-sown koala toys made out of felt. So dear to my heart they brought me hours of joy and an ever-evolving appreciation of all animals; especially wildlife… I can thank my nana for influencing my creativity from an early age. e creative process for this painting began with a watercolour wash over my lead pencil outline. I started on the background using both the reference photo and my imagination that I trusted in how the shapes and colours took form. For the koala I started working in layers of coloured pencil and pastel building on each layer to gradually bring in the fur texture. For extra detail I used gouache paint. e reference photo for Tree Top was supplied by my neighbour Robyne Glover from one of her holidays in NSW. Many koalas that were in abundance on the northern beaches in Sydney where I live have now sadly disappeared due to the increasing urbanisation over the past few decades.

RMNR

Visit Geraldine’s website: www.geraldineswildlifeart.com and follow her works in progress on facebook www.facebook.com/geraldineswildlifeart


Go into the draw to WIN this amazing Koala giclee print by Geraldine Simmons Simply sign up as a subscriber and enter as many times as you like... Subscription is only $25 for a year’s worth of magazines – get your magazine before everyone else – yep that is right – as a subscriber you get to have the Wildlife Rescue Magazine before anyone else can read it - PLUS – pick the next front cover of our magazine – prizes, gifts and loads of tips and hints available in our exclusive ‘Subscriber Only’ newsletter. Want more – click here http://wildliferescuemagazine.com/subscribe-today.html and not only will you be able to enter into the draw and possibly WIN this amazing picture – BUT – receive 20% off the official price. Normally $25 – for a short time only – PAY ONLY $20


Kangaroo Footprints

Margaret Warner has combined her experience as a teacher, writer and wildlife carer to produce Kangaroo Footprints, an information and activity book for children aged 7 to 12. This 75 page book can be used by children individually or by teachers with a class as all pages are designed to be photocopied. Each double page consists of an information page and an activity page e.g. crossword, drawing, magic squares, word search and origami. A full colour Kangaroo Trail poster showing all species of kangaroos and wallabies and where they can be found across Australia is included with each book. Kangaroo Footprints is available from the website www.kangaroofootprints.com.au for $20.00 with free postage in Australia.


RESCUED!

Rescued is the first book of its kind in describing and bringing attention to the unsung heroes of wild animal care – the wide range of wildlife rehabilitators throughout Australia and beyond who dedicate their lives to caring for wild animals who become orphaned, injured or sick. Many people don’t realise how emotionally and financially draining this work can be, or that wildlife rehabilitators generally receive no government support.

“Rescued! enthralls readers with true stories of sick, injured and orphaned Australian native animals and the unsung heroes who are prepared to step in to help them in their time of need. These stories combine to not only demonstrate the magnificence of Australia‛s wildlife but they carry a powerful message too – that every individua animal is unique and precious and that saving one animal is the stepping stone to saving an entire species. I encourage every Australian to read this book.” Gail Gipp, Manager – Australian Wildlife Hospital Rescued! is in a soft back format, with a collection of 43 true stories about the work of wildlife rehabilitators. The book has colour illustrations and includes contributions from wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians and veterinary nurses who have a professional working role in animal care.

“This beautiful book is rich with wisdom, inspiration, and sound advice. It is education with a smile and an invitation to open your heart to the unique animals all around us. It is a tribute to those brave and compassionate people all over this country who give their time, money and love so selflessly to help those creatures whose suffering would otherwise go unnoticed and whose cause would go unchampioned. Their stories are pure joy.” Tania Duratovic - International Fund for Animal Welfare

This book is available NOW to purchase online for only $9.95 R.R.P. If you are a wildlife carer or organisation and are interested in purchasing copies to sell as a fundraising idea. This fantastic discounted price, allows you to sell the book at normal R.R.P of $15.95 or $19.95 at your Wildlife Centre.

“The book is based on true stories from wildlife rehabilitators and what they have faced while helping our native wildlife to recover from injury or raising orphans to be released back into the wild. Their stories will make you laugh, make you cry, break your heart, make you angry and help you to believe in miracles again. And at the same time educating the public about wildlife and wildlife rescue.” Jodie Blackney.


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$100 worth of "Burston Blue Teats" on offer. To enter, send in your cutest photo with a great caption!! Email: wildliferescuemagazine@gmail.com


Kookaburras in care

Andrea Devos

The Blue-winged Kookaburra. Photographed by Pippa Allen

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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February 2013

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There are two species of Kookaburra in Australia. They are the largest birds belonging to the Kingfisher family found in Australia. The Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) is distributed in coastal north Australia from the Pilbara in the west to just south of Brisbane â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Toowoomba. The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) found in Eastern Australia from Cape York Peninsula to Eastern Eyre Peninsular in South Australia, and has been introduced into Tasmania and the South-West of Western Australia. Care and diet are the same for both species.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) is very similar to the well-known Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) , only the Bluewinged Kookaburra appears much brighter and more top-heavy, and seems to be not as shy as the Laughing Kookaburra. The Blue-winged Kookaburra is a large kingfisher with a big square head and a long bill. The adult has a distinctive pale eye, (a juvenile will have a brown eye until it is 2 years of age). The head is off-white with brown streaks across the whole of the head, the shoulders are sky blue and it has a uniform blue rump. The throat is plain white and the underparts are white with faint scalloped orange-brown bars. The back is mid brown. Males have a dark blue tail while Wildlife Rescue Magazine

females' tails are barred red-brown or blackish. Otherwise the sexes are similar. The legs and feet are grey and the bill is dark above and yellowish below. Juveniles have paler streaks on the head with darker mottlings. There is slight geographical variation with plumage more buff in north-western Australia (race clifoni). HABITAT Primarily savanna woodland but also timbered creek parks and gardens. DIET Very similar to the Laughing Kookaburra but the Blue-winged Kookaburra appears to take a higher proportion of snakes, possibly because these are more common in the tropics. Most prey is taken on the ground by hunting from a perch. Prey is seized with the bill after a glide and beaten against the perch.

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The Blue-winged kookaburra. Photographed by Pippa Allen

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The Blue-winged kookaburra. Photographed by Pippa Allen

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The Blue-winged kookaburra head shot. Photographed by Pippa Allen

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Blue winged Kookaburra with bug. Notice the scallops across its chest and the unique white eye. This blue winged Kookaburra is a male â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you can tell by the tail feathers. In a male the tail feathers are blue. Photographed by Maureen Goninan

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The Blue-winged kookaburra eating a bird. Photographed by Drew McLellan

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Breeding Generally a single pair raises the young but occasionally they will cooperatively breed as does the Laughing Kookaburra. They breed between September and November. Blue-winged Kookaburras nest in arboreal termite mounds or tree hollows. They show a strong preference for Poplar Gum (Eucalyptus alba).Blue-winged Kookaburra family groups are often larger than those of the Laughing Kookaburra, with up to 12 members.

Laughing Kookaburra in flight. Photographed by Robbie Sydney

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Kookaburras live in family groups. Photographed by Robbie Sydney

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The Laughing Kookaburra is approximately 45cms long from head to tail. Iti s the largest of its species.It has a creamy-white chest and head with brown markings/stripes through the eyes and on the crown. The back and wings are brown, with a blue patch on the side of each wing. Males usually have a blue patch on the rump, but it can be as small as one or two feathers. The tail is striped rufous* and brown with white tips to the feathers. *Rufous is a colour that may be described as reddish-brown or brownish-red, as of rust or oxidised iron The beak is large and strong, the top beak being black and the lower beak being buff-coloured.

A Juvenile Kookaburra. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

The juvenile Laughing Kookaburra is easily distinguished by its shorter beak and tail-feathers which may be still growing. The lower beak is also black and turns slowly buffcoloured at approximately four months of age. Young birds are often darker on the chest than the adults. Baby Kookaburras are called â&#x20AC;&#x201C; pullus. Hatchlings are young between the ages of 0-7 days, or until the eyes begin to open. A kookaburra is an Altricial young â&#x20AC;&#x201C; meaning they are helpless, fragile, bottom-heavy and unable to walk. They rely on the parents totally for food and warmth. Baby Kookaburras without feathers need to be kept warm 24 hours a day

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The Laughing Kookaburra. This is a male, some have a very minor blue patch on their rump. Photographed by Tanya Puntti

The Laughing Kookaburra. This is a male, some have a very minor blue patch on their rump. Photographed by Levon Dymond Page 38


between 33C and 37C, and a brooder or hot box is best for this. (To build your own hot box see the article in this issue of the magazine DIY GUY). The temperature would need to be gradually lowered as the feathers grow. A nest needs to be placed in the hospital cage or brooder, and the environment should be kept humid. Humidity should be 50-60%. This can be done by placing a dish of water in the brooder, add a seasponge to the dish, as this prevents any accidental drowning if your chick manages to get out of its nest. All bedding should be changed at least once per day, and the vent (cloaca) should be checked and cleaned

regularly to make sure it doesn't become blocked with faeces. . Hatchlings should be fed a diet consisting of more fluid than solids. It will be easier to feed the bird if the accommodation has a door that opens from the top. Nestlings are chicks still in the nest, with open eyes and quills. Chicks should be fed a slightly higher proportion of solids than hatchlings. After about 10-12 days, the nestlings may be able to thermoregulate. The Kookaburra is a hole nesting bird and will need the arrangement of a shoe box or wine cask with an opening at the end as this is quite suitable at this age.

Kookaburra hatchling. Helpless, fragile, bottom-heavy and unable to walk. Photo courtesy of Seaview Wildlife. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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This can be lined at the inner end with tissues, as the nestling will move backwards towards the hole and defecate through it. Fledglings are young birds that have full length primaries. When nestlings approach the fledgling stage they will become more active. They may start hopping around or may instantly fly. At this stage they should be transferred to a lined cocky cage or small aviary. At first they should be still kept indoors, then after a short time the young should be moved to a sheltered outdoor aviary. Kookaburra hatchling. Photo courtesy of Seaview Wildlife

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Kookaburra nestlings. Photographed by Kristin Dvorak

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Kookaburra fledgling. Photographed by Fred

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Kookaburras breed in the spring and usually hatch two or three chicks which are bald and pink, and by sixteen days are covered in pinfeathers. They leave the nest at around thirty-six days of age and are fed by the adults until about three months of age. Kookaburras generally lay three eggs at about 2-day intervals. If the food supply is not adequate, the third egg will be smaller and the third chick will also be smaller and at a

disadvantage relative to its larger siblings. Chicks have a hook on the upper mandible, which disappears by the time of fledging. If the food supply to the chicks is not adequate, the chicks will quarrel, with the hook being used as a weapon. The smallest chick may even be killed by its larger siblings. If food is plentiful, the parent birds spend more time brooding the chicks and so the chicks are not able to fight.

Kookaburra chicks have a hook on their upper mandible. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Reasons for chicks coming into care Blood sucking insects Nests accumulate a number of parasites - fleas, lice, fly larvae and mites - which can be discarded with the nests, but re-used nests, particularly nest hollows, are likely to carry parasites from previous years. Unfortunately the more bugs in a nest the more weight a nestling loses each night when the bugs bite. Sickly chicks may be kicked out of the nest by the parents. Cold Cold is another killer.

Kookaburras need to be kept warm for several days after hatching. Hole nesters like kingfishers and kookaburras, are at an advantage where chilling is concerned but they can accidentally fall from the nest doorway as they back up to the light to defecate. These young can usually be safely returned to the nest hole to rejoin their siblings. However, if they are cold or slightly injured they can be kept in care for a short time before returning them to their parents.

Kookaburras can accidentally fall from the nest doorways as they back up to the light to defecate. Photographed by Sebastian Tauchmann Page 42


RESCUE When sent on a young bird rescue, it is advisable to take a variety of containers, such as margarine and/ or ice cream containers, warmed hot water bottle, cardboard box or pet carriers, as well as some cloth for 'nest' padding. People have different definitions for 'small' and 'large' birds. Many calls for baby birds have in fact been for something quite different, so be prepared. A baby emu turned out to be a plover, a baby pelican was an unfeathered Indian mynah, a sea eagle was a starling, a kookaburra was a tawny frogmouth, and so on! Try to identify the bird as soon as possible. If the chick is injured or very cold it should be taken into care and monitored. Take note at the rescue site of exactly: • where the chick was found, • whether there is a nest around, • if the parent birds are around and • are predators such as cats or currawongs there. If the chick recovers well it might be possible to take it back to its parents. Every year the lives of many young birds are upset by people who mean only to help. Fledglings leave the nest some time before they are able to fly. They are left for a time by the parents while they search for food. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

silver eyes. Never try to put unrelated At this time the young birds sit quietly seagull chicks in a nest in the wild waiting, apparently abandoned. It is they will be killed instantly. now that well meaning people find Do not feed the chick before them and by mistake think they need returning it as it is important that it help. Always ensure that rescue is beg for food and screech and scream necessary. These members of the to attract its parent’s attention. public often can help identify reasons Monitor from a distance to make sure for the chick displacement. that the parents recognise the chick Returning a nestling to its parents and go down to feed it. If the chick is requires either making a substitute not claimed by the birds within two nest or replacing the young in its hours it must be taken into permanent original nest. An artificial nest can be care or maybe make out of a returned a couple flower pot, ice of days later to see cream container Does the chick feel hot or if it is or similar. Always cold? A bird's body subsequently make sure there is a drainage hole in temperature is 42˚C. As this accepted. Some chicks the bottom. is higher than a human body hardly seem to A chick that is temperature the chick should notice that they perching can feel warm to the touch. have been through either be returned any trauma at all to its parents or in and are ready to the case of many be fed. Others may be suffering from Australian birds may be introduced to some degree of shock or stress, and a substitute family. Birds that breed may be cold. A chick will normally feel communally can often be persuaded to quite hot as its body temperature can take and care for unrelated young. If be five degrees hotter than a human’s. you have an orphaned kookaburra that If it is cold, then your first priority will is attracting the interest of your local be to put it in a warm, dark box in a group of kookaburras it might be quiet place to recover and get its body possible to encourage them to come temperature back to normal. Don’t down, feed and in time take the fledgling off with them. Other species feed the chick until you are sure it is that have been reported adopting warm and stable. orphans are magpies,peewees, wrens, Rehydration - a chick coming currawongs, lorikeets, rosellas and into care will be suffering from some

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degree of dehydration. Dip its beak into some warm water or alternatively dribble it onto the outside of the beak and wait for it to swallow it. One teaspoon of glucose in a cup of warm water is acceptable, but there are also special products available such as Vetafarm "Spark". A dehydrated bird will have wrinkled skin. In severe cases subcutaneous fluids can be injected under the skin by a very experienced carer or veterinarian. How to recognise the correct temperature? Does the chick feel hot or cold? A bird's body temperature is 42C. As this is higher than a human body temperature the chick should feel warm to the touch. Chicks will expire faster if overheated than if under-heated, so start with a lower temperature and increase it until the optimum temperature is reached. If you are using a light bulb as a source of heat, it is preferable to use coloured 25 or 40 watt bulbs rather than white or clear ones. To increase or decrease the temperature, adjust the height of the bulb or install a dimmer switch. If you are using a pet heat pad, you may need to add additional towels on top of the pad to ensure the chick isn't too hot. The chicks are then placed in their container on top of the covered heat pad. A thermometer placed close to Page 43


the bird's body will enable you to check that the temperature is right at a glance. Nestlings of hollow-nesting birds such as the kookaburra appear to be able to manufacture calcium without sunlight. It is still a mystery how they do so. As soon as they fledge and leave the nest hollow they must be given sunlight or vitamin D as with all other fledglings. The most common injuries to Kookaburras are broken wings or legs, internal injuries, concussion and bruising. Unless the bird is bleeding, place it gently in a warm quiet place for about an hour before examining it, because it will almost certainly be suffering from shock. If a hospital box is not available, place the Kookaburra in a cardboard box, making sure it is the right size for the bird so that feathers will not be broken and have to regrow ( which can take up to twelve months). Place some extra holes in the box for ventilation and place a lid on the box. If it is a cold day, a hot water bottle well wrapped in clean towels may be placed at one end of the box to keep the bird warm (about 25C.). Check the temperature of the water bottle every two hours to make sure it is still warm. Be careful, a cold water bottle will act as a heat sink and chill the bird. If the bird is bleeding it can be Wildlife Rescue Magazine

found in a swimming pool, unable to stopped by holding a pad made from a fly, unable to walk – all these are clean cloth such as a handkerchief and important to note. applying pressure with fingers. When was it rescued? If the bird is having difficulty Birds that are held onto without breathing, check mouth and throat and medical attention have been shown to remove any obstructions. have a reduced chance of successful Kookaburras don't usually drink, rehabilitation. they usually derive enough moisture The length of time that an injury from their prey. Unless you are has existed will often determine a experienced with giving water with a bird’s “treatability”. The fresher the syringe, do not risk getting water into injury, the better the chances of the lungs. If you think the bird is successful dehydrated and it rehabilitation. is a very hot day Treatment of you can gently fresh, open dribble water over fractures seem to the top of birds Kookaburras don't usually be quite beak, so that it drink, they usually derive successful, but runs down sides of enough moisture from grossly the beak. their prey. contaminated When a bird wounds and/or is rescued an dry exposed accurate history fracture fragments should be are very reliable indicators that obtained and passed on to anyone who rehabilitation is unlikely. will attend to the bird Kookaburras have weak feet Where was it found? compared with other birds of prey but With few exceptions, wild birds their beaks are large and strong. It is should be released as close to the point preferable to have someone helping of rescue as possible. It is essential that you when examining the bird. Even the place where the bird came from be very young Kookaburras have identified and recorded with as much extremely strong beaks. Take care detail as possible. Why was it rescued? when handling them. Was the bird found on the side of Hold the bird firmly but gently a road, beneath a tree, in a cat’s mouth, well away from your face, keeping all in a backyard, caught by the children, fingers close to the bird's body or you

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may find your nose or your finger held in a vice-like grip which is hard to release. If a wing or a leg is broken it will need to be splinted by a Vet, unless you have experience in doing this. If you are going to transport it to a Vet because of a broken wing place a temporary strapping on it to prevent further damage during transport. Broken bones heal very quickly in birds so it is essential they are attended to urgently otherwise the bone may heal in the wrong position. Check that eyes are wide open and clear, with both being the same size. Any abnormality could indicate concussion or brain damage and a Vet will be necessary because the bird may need medication to reduce the inflammation in the brain. If the bird is standing with head bowed and both wings drooping it is probably feeling very weak. Check the body condition by feeling the keelbone (sternum) at the front of bird on its chest. This should be well rounded and firm. If the keel bone is very sharp the bird has not been eating well, which could indicate disease. Check the throat for Trichomoniasis (canker). This will appear as a cheesy-yellow fast growing, foul-smelling growth, which will be fatal if not treated promptly. Trichomoniasis can prevent the bird from swallowing food, and if it Page 44


becomes really severe will interfere with the bird's ability to breathe. Never attempt to remove the growths (lesions) in birds which have Trichomoniasis, because it will bleed to death in a very short time. Kookaburras may also be poisoned by insecticides. or by eating poisoned mice, or have internal parasites. All the above problems will need to be treated by a Vet, preferably by one who knows birds. Broken beaks will grow again, but it takes months and both top and bottom beaks will need to be filed a little at a time every two or three weeks with a medium bastard file until normal again. The lower beak may need to be cleaned out gently if a build-up of food has caused the tongue to be stuck down, making it difficult to swallow. This can be done by softening the build-up with a few drops of water, taking care not to get any in the birds lungs, and removing it slowly and carefully with a blunt object such as the rounded end of a nail file. Cleaning the beak should only be necessary if the bird is not feeding tself but watch for it anyway. A common mistake made by inexperienced people is to assume that the bird will get better if an obvious fracture of the wing cannot be found. If a bird cannot fly, all the other injuries need to be ruled out before Wildlife Rescue Magazine

time and rest can be concluded to be the treatment of choice. Some diagnoses can be very difficult and require time and the ruling out of other injuries before they are made. Treatment for birds can range from orthopaedic surgery to cage rest for a concussion. Where the veterinarian leaves off and the rehabilitator takes over will depend on the individual arrangements between the vet and the carer and the facilities available to both parties. FEEDING Kookaburras are carnivores – they eat whole prey in the wild and the same needs to be fed in captivity. Mice and rats make excellent food sources for many birds. Meat alone is not balanced and should be mixed with insectivore mix if no other food source is available. You can purchase Insectivore mix through Wombaroo. In the wild Kookaburras eat a variety of small animals, reptile and insects, such as: mice, small snakes and lizards, small birds and insects such as crickets, worms ,beetles and centipedes. In captivity they are usually fed mice, day-old-chicks, pieces of beef, small rats, sparrows and mealworms. It is important to give them as much natural food as possible because the feathers and fur provide roughage while the bones and insect shells provide calcium. Knowing how a kookaburra

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A kookaburra swooping.

catches its food is important as you will have to give training to your hand reared young as they get older. The Kookaburra uses a “wait-andpounce technique”, taking up a post with a good view. When prey appears, the Kookaburra drops straight down from its perch, its wings back, with beak ready to grab its dinner. (They do not use their feet and claws to catch prey as an eagle would.) Large prey items like lizards and snakes are bashed against a tree or a rock, to kill them and soften them up before they are eaten. Adult Kookaburras bash their prey on a perch to break up the bones and make it easier to eat. It also serves to

Photographed by Ian Sanderson

“tenderise” the meat of the prey. Feathers and fur from their meals provide roughage while the bones and insect shells provide the calcium. Kookaburras can devour snakes up to one metre in length. They even continue with the “Bashing of Food” ritual in captivity when “dead” food is fed to them, as it still serves the purpose of tenderising the flesh and pulverising the bones. Although Kookaburras are NOT closely associated with WATER. They DO like to bathe, and will sometimes catch fish with plunging dives and, on occasion, raid suburban goldfish ponds. Prey is stunned by dropping from Page 45


A kookaburra taking a bath. Photographed by Danack

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a height or whacking it against a branch before swallowing. They will even kill poisonous snakes by grabbing them behind the head and smashing them against a rock until they are dead. They regurgitate a “cast” once per day of undigested material in the form of a dry pellet (a bit like an owl does). The casts resemble mammalian droppings! If they get stressed they will regurgitate their meal - even hours later. An adult bird will eat about one and a half day-old-chicks per day or two to three mice a day. Young Kookaburras will eat a little more. If stressed a Kookaburra will regurgitate their last meal, even hours later. If it is necessary to force feed a Kookaburra, place the food well back in the mouth to help them swallow, as they have very short tongues. Food can be moistened by dipping it in a little water to make it slide down their throat more easily. A Kookaburras crop is between its legs so allow time for each piece to go down before trying another. When force feeding, small pieces of food are best, and the scissor-type tweezers are handy for placing food in their mouths to avoid getting bitten. Baby Kookaburras (pullus) should be given pieces of food that are small Wildlife Rescue Magazine

enough for them to swallow without difficulty and the size of the pieces of food can be increased gradually as the bird grows. In the wild, baby Kookaburras are fed by their parents and the other family members in the group until they are about three months of age, so if the bird has a short, all-black beak it will probably need to be hand fed. Feed only freshly caught mice or ones that have been frozen and thawed out properly before use. Never feed mice which have been found dead as they may have been poisoned. Very young birds need to be kept warm when being fed. Never feed a cold lifeless bird. Always warm it up first. Warm your hands and keep the chick wrapped - a facial tissue will suffice. Have the food at body temperature. Never feed a dehydrated bird, rehydrate it first. One teaspoon of glucose in a cup of warm water is acceptable, but there are special products available such as Vetafarm Spark. A dehydrated bird will have wrinkled skin. STICK FEEDING Kookaburras, koel, tawny frogmouths - place a ball of meat mixture on the end of a toothpick/stick, or held with tweezers. Dip in water and deposit at the back of the bird’s mouth.

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Kookaburra eating a snake (notice how the snake is curled up in the kookaburra’s mouth. Photographed by Maureen Goninan

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Kookaburra with a wasp or beetle. Photographed by David Traish

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Kookaburra with a legless lizard. Photographed by Jenny Thynne

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Kookaburra with a snake. Photographed by Karen Collins

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Kookaburra eating a praying mantis. Photographed by Duade Paton

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Kookaburra eating a stick insect. Photographed by Stan Cochrane

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Kookaburra eating a bug.

Photographed by Lynne Katona

Kookaburra eating a frog.

Photographed by Claire Clinch

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Kookaburra eating a duckling.

Kookaburra eating a bug.

Photographed by Stan Cochrane

Photographed by JZ Liu Page 53


Kookaburra eating a lizard.

Photographed by Suzanne Lowe

Kookaburra with a baby rat. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Kookaburra eating a frog.

BARE HANDS METHOD Some birds can be difficult to encourage to open their beaks, kookaburras are very often difficult. In this case the beak should be prised open close to the base of the beak and the wetted food placed behind the tongue and past the tracea. If the head is held upright for a short time this will encourage the bird to swallow and not spit out the unfamiliar food. A Kookaburra's crop is between its legs so if you had to force feed (or hand-feed a baby) allow extra time for the food to get as far down as the crop. You will have to push the food a little more to the back of their mouths.

Photographed by Claire Clinch

Scissor-type of tweezers are ideal for feeding like this to prevent getting bitten. Food should be moistened first, Dip it in water first. This will help the food slide down the throat easier as they also have very short tongues. As a general rule, feed small meals often. After rehydration, newly hatched nestlings should be fed at least every half hour, 14 hours a day. Partially feathered young of good weight can be fed every hour or two Weigh daily to monitor weight gain and therefore indicate adequacy of diet.

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Kookaburra with a lizard. Photographed by Suzanne Lowe

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Kookaburras should be offered a ‘meat mix’ as a captive diet. This is a 50/50 mix of beef mince and either Insectivore Mix (Wombaroo) or ‘Insecta-pro’ (Vetafarm). Pic: Insectivore Mix (Wombaroo) Logo of Wombaroo Pic: Insecta-pro (Vetafarm) Logo of Vetafarm To feed these birds place small food items in their mouth with tweezers, forceps or the blunt end of a toothpick (for smaller species).Food should be placed well back in the mouth when the chick gapes. This is supplemented with mealworms and insects as well as insect-covered foliage. Chicks also require 2% of the meat weight in calcium as well as 1g of avian vitamins per 200g of food. This will ensure that the chick receives the

Kookaburra photographed by David Cook

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

correct nutritional content that it requires to grow healthy strong bones. As a general rule, carnivorous birds may take up to 50ml/kg body weight per feed. Some kookaburras are quite calm around humans, but others are extremely nervous and often injure themselves trying to get away. They should be disturbed as little as possible and placing towels/blankets over their cages reduces the stress of visual stimuli. The flightier they are, the longer it takes them to eat in captivity and the more likely they are to damage their feathers. They routinely do not eat for the first 4 days and sometimes require force feeding (small mice are useful). They are also a kingfisher and often appreciate a shallow dish to bathe in.

Kookaburra photographed by David Cook

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Feeding a Kookaburra with tweezers.

34 day old Kookaburra being weighed.

Photo courtesy of Seaview Wildlife

Photographed by Fred Page 56


Feeding – usually offered a mix of meal worms, fly pupae, crickets, Eco Pet dog food, and mice, the mice being a preferred food. Mice are useful to administer medications. The medications are injected into the dead mouse and fed to the kookaburra. NATURAL HAZARDS Leaving the nest is the most hazardous step for a young bird, and for some this can be a rather premature but nevertheless essential event. A Kookaburra baby is fed by both parents and its older brothers and sisters who have yet to fly off and find their own area. HOUSING Baby Kookaburras without

DIY GUY article in the last issue of the magazine will teach you how to make a hot box. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

feathers need to be kept warm 24 hours a day at around 30˚C, and a brooder or hot box is best for this. (See the DIY Guy article in Issue 5.) Young Kookaburras which no longer need brooding, and injured birds with strapping or splints etc. can be kept in a large cocky cage, partially covered with a blanket and cleaned out each day. Keep the bird in a quiet place away from draughts. household pets, people and household noise and activity. Keep handling to a minimum. Always remembering that it is a wild bird and is naturally afraid of people. In captivity, Kookaburras are not a very active bird, but unless they are unable to fly, they need a large aviary with plenty of natural perches such as gum boughs and some stumps or rocks to sit on. Kookaburras do not usually need to drink as they derive enough moisture from their diet but they love to bathe and a bird bath or shallow pond with the water changed regularly, is appreciated. The Kookaburras’ laughter is their territorial call and they laugh very loudly before dawn each morning which can cause big problems with neighbours. One Kookaburra in captivity may not laugh at all unless there are wild Kookaburras within hearing distance, as they are not soloists but choral singers. It is best not to put Kookaburras

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When kookaburras are put in outside avairies, they spend a lot of time watching out their enclosures and perches should be offered to facilitate this as tail feathers are often damaged if they are hanging off wire frequently. Tail guards may be necessary. Tail guards are not used regularly, but if necessary, small zip lock plastic bags stapled to the feather shafts work well. The feathers should be dry when this is done as mould can grow on wet feathers.

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into an aviary with other birds, especially small ones which they will eat, so house them separately.

In the wild the kookaburra search our termites mounds or hollows to lay their eggs.

Kookaburra in a termite mound high up in a gum tree. Photographed by Suzanne Lowe Page 57


10 metres up a tree this termite mound is used as a nest by the kookaburra. Photographed by Suzanne Lowe

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• •

• •

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Hygiene Wash hands before and after feeding young chicks Clean the bill and surrounding skin after feeding. Food should be fresh, and warmed immediately before feeding. If reheating food in a microwave stir it thoroughly to avoid hot spots that can cause crop burn. Unused food should be discarded. Clean feeding implements immediately after use. Sterilise if the chick is unfeathered. Most kookaburra chicks will defecate over the edge of the nest. They will back up to the edge of the nest and deposit their faecal sac over its edge. If the edge of the artificial nest is too high for them to do this it is important to change the shape of the nest provided. Never under any circumstances leave nestlings in a nest that might have been brought with them. It is impossible for us to keep this type of construction clean. Older chicks start to poop over the side of the nest and can require much more attention to cleaning the nest and environment. Birds which nest in holes or hollows often back up to the opening of the nest box and propel their faeces as far away from the hollow as possible this liquid waste can be propelled quite a range. Chicks will normally defecate immediately after being fed. Remove faeces immediately.

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Any young Kookaburra chick that is hand-reared alone will to some extent become imprinted on the carer. This might not be immediately obvious to the carer but on release its conspecifics (group) will notice the difference and may shun it. Research has found that these human imprinted birds seldom breed in the wild. All its social behaviours will be misdirected towards people. When feeding chicks, therefore, try to do so in a way that the bird does not see you and above all avoid eye contact. The less handling that the bird has the better. Do not keep chicks that need frequent feeding in the kitchen even though it might be convenient to you. It is vital, therefore, that a chick coming into care be buddied with others of its own kind immediately. If this is impossible, a mirror in the cage might help it to recognise others of its species. When they fledge they should be with a group in the aviary. STRESS Even nestling and fledgling birds can be affected by stress. The more obvious signs of stress are fluffing-up their feathers or tucking their head under the wing. Appropriate food, shelter and comfort will decrease stress, which in turn, may increase their rates of recovery and release. HOUSING Nestlings feel secure and therefore less stressed if the nest size and shape

is appropriate for the species. In the case of Kookaburra, they should be in a nest box made specifically for them – the hole must be at the top and sun must not be able to reach them as this can cause problems with their eyes later. With juveniles, the housing should be lined with shadecloth and face the outdoors, with a cover to insulate them from human sights and sounds. Whenever possible all husbandry tasks, such as weighing, watering, cleaning and medicating should be done once a day at the one time. Arboreal birds (especially kookaburras) should be housed in enclosures that are at head height. Cages should have an area where the birds can hide when they feel threatened - nest boxes or tree hollows for cavity nesters like the kookaburra and perches placed as high as possible in the cage, with some leafy branches for shelter. With thanks to Norma Henderson’s notes on the ‘Identification and Care of Chicks, Nestlings and Fledglings’, Dr Phillippa Mason's notes from the National Rehabilitation Conference 2005, ‘Rehabilitating Birds’ and finally to the ‘Birdcare and conservation Society'.

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To rehabilitate an animal and bird and to set it free â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Here is a Kookaburra flying free in the wild. Photographed by Benjamin Sloan

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Elizabeth Cogley Australian Wildlife Artist ‘Kookaburras’ CLICK HERE to see more! www.ozwildart.com


T H E D.I.Y G U Y

A simple pole camera

Glen Burston

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ver wondered what was in those tree hollows? Well now you can have a non-invasive look inside but before I start I need to work on my communication and timing skills. Picture this - it’s a wonderful evening experimenting in the Man Shed when I meander up to the Homestead with a New Bright Idea to run past she who must be obeyed. I walk in muttering we need a “Pole”, unbeknown to me, She is watching some show called “Dances with the Stars” [sheesh!] And a I get a wellplaced 4x2 behind the ears before I can explain myself… “Not THAT type of ‘pole’ what were you thinking?” Anyways back to the project. There are some wonderful gadgets showing up all over the place and this is how they can be modified for our wildlife work. This is a 2.4 Gigahertz [yes I can all hear you saying a what?]… it is wireless… so you don’t need a cable from the camera to the monitor. Don’t forget some hollows are dark and the LED headlight works great as you can also change how bright you want it to be. The pole is from a pool scooper

Camera and wireless receiver mounted on a pole Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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The camera is the rectangular thingie on the top. Below it is a LED headlight minus the head strap, attached using a cable tie and double sided tape.

The rear shot shows the charger position and the switch for different channels and that little antenna.

and is available from Bunnings and at the time of this article was under $30 each on special. Just squash one end to make a mounting platform for the camera - itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy as its aluminium. I have two poles â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one is 5m long [extended], and the other is 4m long [extended]. That gives me a range to 9m plus me at 2m tall gets me to 11m. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe me? Check the photo out. Joining is easy and can be done in the field using wing nuts. These poles

Here we have the camera, torch and the receiver that connects up to a standard TV.

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TV monitor and inverter in the boot of the Rescue Vehicle.

I have two poles – one is 5m long [extended], and the other is 4m long [extended]. That gives me a range to 9m plus me at 2m tall gets me to 11m.

Wildlife Rescue Magazine

Joining is easy and can be done in the field using wing nuts. These poles are great as one will slide into the other Just remove the plastic insert and drill a couple of holes for the bolts.

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are great as one will slide into the other. Just remove the plastic insert and drill a couple of holes for the bolts. Wireless allows us to go into the bush and it will transmit back to the car. Did I say it’s all in colour too!. Wanna know the range — 200m+ in the open and about 30m in thick bush. Awesome. I fitted a 12v to 240v inverter some time ago into the back of the Rescue Vehicle and it has come in handy many a time. So it is bigger than what we need but I am a bloke after all. The inverter also powers heat boxes and heat pads when we go and do rescues. Well I do hope this has helped and will allow you to see what is in all

those hollows out there safely. By the way this can be used both day and night so what are you doing? Go get out there! Any questions or need help just send us an email. Happy Hollows The DIY Guy

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Pelicans and gannets A

s with almost every rescue, the phone rang. It was Brook from Parks Victoria calling from the Bellarine Vet Clinic in Drysdale, they had found a emaciated baby pelican they wanted me to take in. He was so underweight, his keel bone was visible and poking out through his downy feathers. We had had lots of pelicans over the years, come into care. Injured from being tangled in fishing line. Almost all the pelicans had fishing hooks in them, still attached to fishing line and sinkers. David, my husband now has a nice collection of fishing lures, hooks, and sinkers all collected from injured pelicans. So the pelican came into our lives. He didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think much of the dead fish we tried to feed him. By law, we are not allowed to feed him live fish. So David had to force fed him for almost 2 weeks. We filled all our ponds up with fresh water and encouraged him to feed himself. He became a very expensive bird to fed, upon release; we were spending up to $20.00 a day on his fish to feed him. And by then we also had 5 baby Gannets in care. Our outdoor enclosures are under Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Helen Burrell surveillance 24/7 with a web cam allowing us to monitor all the wildlife in the backyard, without them seeing us. It was almost two weeks before we received the pelican; we had rescued our first baby gannet. When we introduced the baby gannet to the pelican, it was love at first sight. They were instant best friends. Whenever the gannet made a noise, the pelican was there, to see if he was alright. We recorded footage of the pelican mothering the baby gannet, even to the point of trying to feed it. They were inseparable, they swam, ate, played and slept together for the next 8 weeks. By that time, we had now 5 baby gannets, 2 seagulls and a pelican leading the group. The gannets were fed on white bait and the pelican was fed on all the larger fish. He was growing into a very big pelican. 20 kilos of white bait was lasting only 2 days. On April 6th 2008, we decided to release him. He had grown into a beautiful healthy pelican. As with rescues, we try to involve our volunteers to attend the releases. When the pelican was released, Page 66


Gannets in care

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there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a dry eye on the beach. He had never flown for a long distance before, apart from the little flapping hops around his enclosure, so we were not sure how the release would go. He stood there on the beach for what seemed like forever, before he moved. He then lifted his head, out stretched his wings and started flapping running towards the water. Before we knew it, he was air borne, effortlessly gaining height with every flap of his wings. His wing span was around 10 ft. We stayed and watched him land on and take off from the water several times. As I said before there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a dry eye on the beach. No one spoke, but as if on cue everyone started to clap their hands. And through the tears of joy, we laughed and hugged each other. A perfect release. We have only seen him once since his release. He has a blue no11 on his right shoulder above his wing, to enable us to keep an eye out for him and to make sure he is doing ok. So far so good, a great rehabilitation and even better release.

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e lif Ex e R cl es usi cu ve e M to ag az in W i ld

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Galah hit and run T

his Galah was handed into me after being hit by a car and left on the road to die with a broken leg. The vet examines her leg (photo 14), with the left leg seen facing outwards that was realigned and had a pin inserted into the left leg. Photo 15 shows the vet examining the wing. There was also a fracture at the carpus (wrist) on the right, and that was placed in a splint. The Galah was also given antibiotics. Three weeks later the leg is now

A very lucky Galah in the aviary learning to fly again. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Nora Preston stable with the pin and splint removed and she is perching on it as shown in photo 2. Photo 3 shows the galah in the aviary learning to fly again. A good quality parrot mix was being fed to the Galah avoiding black sunflower seeds. Photos taken by NORA PRESTON. NORA PRESTON Founding President WILDLIFE CARERS GROUP PO Box 3509 WESTON CREEK ACT 2611 Mobile: 0406 056 099

Photo 14. The Galahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broken left leg. February 2013

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Photo 15. the vet examining the wing.

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3 weeks later the leg is now stable with the pin and splint removed and she is perching on it as shown in photo 2.

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Tully and Wilma

Michelle Thomas

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ully the wombat is one lucky car accident victim although sadly her mum was not. Orphaned and alone this young female wombat was in the right place at the right time as Steven Kuiter was making his way back from a nocturnal photography session (Steven is an avid wildlife photographer) when he saw a adult wombat that had just been hit by a car. Not knowing if the wombat was alive or dead he pulled over and went back to check. Although the wombat had passed Steven had the presence of mind to check the sex and realised it was a female with a healthy and live young joey in her pouch. He then went about gently removing the baby wombat from the pouch and although this may seem a simple task it is not, wombat pouches are extremely tight and often the only way to get a wombat joey out is to cut the pouch open which is exactly what Steven did. When Steven arrived home Michelle from Animalia was on her way to take the young pinkie into care and this process was made in such a good way due to Stevenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actions in the way he had kept her warm inside his Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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their self constructed burrow, feasting on carrots, vegies, grass and oats. They are both healthy and happy.... look like wombats and smell like wombats. (March 2012) UPDATE Tully & Wilma were moved to a private property in Nar Nar Goon after Alison Michelle and Graham built a temporary pre release enclosure in which they would be able to adjust to their new surroundings. They were released from the temporary enclosure on 20th October 2012, and are enjoying a truly wild life. Animalia receives regular updates from the property owners and on the 1st of November 2012 Tully had built a secondary burrow on the property. Check out the story in Mornington Peninsula Newspaper "The News" http://www.mpnews.com.au/wom bat.html

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top. This meant that when she was taken back to the shelter she could be fed immediately. With only minor scratches Tully has been packing on the weight and is one of the calmest wombats to ever be cared for by Michelle. Steven and his mother Alison have both made weekly visits to photograph and document the progress of young Tully since she arrived at the Shelter in August 2011. Tully started off on 3 hourly feeds all through the day and night. She stacked on the weight and then started to have bigger feeds further apart. Once she was mobile she started chewing on grass and leaves. Fortunately for Tully, Michelle received another female wombat who had also been orphaned. Wombats adjust and learn life experiences better when there are two of them to work things out and they also learn to play/fight for future wild living. Wilma arrived at Animalia Shelter and the two wombats became best of buddies, playing with each other and finally doing what all good wombats do.... digging a burrow in their outside enclosure. They are both on dried food, leaf and whatever grass and roots they can find in their enclosure... but they still do love their formula. At about 2.8kg they are growing. (November 2011) Tully and Wilma spend all their time in their outside enclosure with

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Herbivore nutrition supplements

Beverley Young

RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY Over many years we have experienced frustration in finding effective methods to treat a range of problems in young possums in care; conditions such as malnourishment, poor appetite and feeding, failure to thrive, Caecal Stasis, low immunity diseases (bacterial and fungal), and diarrhoea. In some cases of course, there is a known reason for the condition but response to the usual treatment methods has often been disappointing. Records of all baby Ringtails coming into care over 8 years (some 3000 possums) show that, despite using known preventative measures and many medications and methods to treat these conditions our results – the numbers surviving - have not improved. This particularly applies to Caecal Stasis. In May 2009 we set up a means of recording the history, symptoms and treatment for all ‘in care’ babies exhibiting early signs of poor development and malnourishment – symptoms we had come to recognise as invariably the precursors of Caecal Stasis, as well as other conditions such as susceptibility to bacterial and fungal Wildlife Rescue Magazine

infections for instance. We wanted to look at the effectiveness of the different treatment methods available to us. We believe our results show a very positive story. THE INITIAL STUDY Carers of baby Ringtails were asked to watch particularly for at least two of three emerging signs and report in immediately these were noted. The signs were: • Thin face, tail and limbs. • Poor, sparse fur development • A large or ‘pudgy’ abdomen, out of proportion to the rest of the body. These were considered with all the known data on the animal’s history – reason for rescue, early feeding history and weight gain. If the possum was considered to be ‘at risk’ in terms of this study, the carer was asked to follow a regime of treatment and make records daily, covering such areas as: weight, abdomen (measurement, feel and noise), any medications (prescribed by Vet), supplements ( eg. fibre, High Protein Supplement, Oxbow Critical Care), normal diet ( formula, leaves), fluids (extra?), urine and faeces condition and output, behaviour (stress, backriding?), housing (space for exercise, compatible

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buddies?), fur growth, independence. In the short period of this study we have the progress of seven young possums recorded in detail. Here we will have a quick look at two of these: Tommy – a case history. Rescue weight 43g. In cat’s mouth but no marks. Always thin, poor weight gain, poor fur development. Several formula changes, trying to improve appetite and nutritional absorption. Happily buddied, but buddies growing and developing better. Nibbling leaves, but not as much as buddies. Pudgy tummy noted at 120g. Recording commenced. Continued normal diet (feeding self formula and leaves at night). Given three extra feeds through the day – extra fluids (weak lectade) with ¼ tsp. OxbowCC sprinkled over, kept up for 3 weeks. Monitored toileting for 10 days – all normal, including soft caecal pellets, so not continued. Results for Tommy: After 3 weeks, abdomen decreased, face and tail filling out, fur

thickening. OxbowCC now added to formula only (self feeding at night). Supplements - extra protein and vegetables given over the weaning period (as we normally do). All ‘supplements’ (including OxbowCC) ceased about three weeks before release. Soft released fit and wild. The ultimate survival measure – Tommy is now a father! (He was soft released in the garden of his carer, he nested with one of his ‘buddies’ and the following year both are still around – with joeys). Lucky – a case history Rescue weight 54g. Emaciated and several deep wounds from bird pecks on face and shoulder. Poor weight gain. Poor fur development. Pudgy tummy noted at 80g. Records and treatment commenced. Hand feeding formula four times daily – OxbowCC added to milk. From 160g. normally feeding self at night only – still taken out twice daily for extra fluids and OxbowCC. 240g. abdomen normal, fur thickening, face and tail fatter. Page 77


OxbowCC added to milk and water in cage only (night feed). 420g. released fit and wild, with buddies. In both cases, comparing with past records, Oxbow was the only new treatment used. We have to believe OxbowCC made the difference – survival. OXBOW Critical Care and VETAFARM Critta Care Herbivore We will now look at the two products in this study. We started trialling Oxbow first – we had heard about it just before starting the study. Later we heard there was an Australian product made by Vetafarm, and we are including this in our discussion although we have not had sufficient time to study results from its use. Basically both products are nutrition supplements for herbivores, though in the case of Oxbow, not specifically for Australian wildlife. We have been very pleased to see just how effective OxbowCC has been for possums – and there is further discussion on its benefits for other wildlife. The products have very similar contents. BROAD ANALYSIS Natural fibre Protein Minerals Vitamins – (the higher level of Vitamin D in Vetafarm was an initial concern as Vitamin D can be toxic to possums. However we have confirmed Wildlife Rescue Magazine

its safety). Probiotics (though, in Oxbow these are negated by quarantine ‘zapping’ on entry to this country) BENEFITS Digestive balance Promotion of micro-flora Essential nutriment Fibre for gut health CONCLUSIONS FROM THE INITIAL STUDY Results using OxbowCC versus previous treatments showed very positive results. • Seven treated – seven successful, all now released fit and wild. We must assume that at least some of these would have gone on to develop Caecal Stasis. • Statistics from previous 5 years – an average of six died from Caecal Stasis per year. • This year, using OxbowCC – only one, not in the controlled study, died from Caecal Stasis. ONE DEATH FROM CAECAL STASIS – WHAT WENT WRONG? This possum was not in the original controlled study but the carer had used OxbowCC and had kept records of her own so we investigated to see if there was an explanation for Oxbow appearing not to help in this case. The possum died late in care – just 3 weeks before it was due to be released. The history: Baby rescued at 62g., always a

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poor feeder, poor weight gain and ‘sticky’ faeces. Started on Oxbow at 70g, because baby was malnourished, thin, had poor sparse fur, and was falling well behind his buddies of the same age, in development. Oxbow was added to the milk feeds, but ceased when possum was 123g. because the appetite had improved. Continued to develop, but well behind the buddies. A new carer took them at aviary stage and she noted he looked thin, and was often ‘rejected’ by the buddies (pushed out of the drey). He died eight days after weaning ceased. When found on the floor he had all the signs of Caecal Stasis – very distended abdomen, very thin, and poor fur cover. He was only 268g. Several important points stood out: • Oxbow should have been continued through to at least after weaning – ie. it was stopped too soon. • Weaning was too early and not supported with extra nutrition. • His system was so compromised he could not survive on leaves alone, after weaning, so he quickly lost weight and died in typical Caecal Stasis condition. OTHER RINGTAIL CONDITIONS – responding well to Oxbow. THRUSH

Five severe cases were recorded, three of these with additional bacterial skin infections. Oxbow was used as a milk substitute for three days. This was in addition to the usual treatment for Thrush – Nilstat, and Baytril for the bacterial infection. In each case recovery was quicker than in the past, there was no weight loss and there were no side effects from the medications. Where diarrhoea was present it cleared up quicker than usual. We believe OxbowCC worked because it gave essential nutrition to boost the general condition and immunity, and stimulated micro flora in the gut. We know these infections typically strike when you have a body in low condition – Oxbow helps the body to fight off infection, by building up general health. Other conditions treated successfully with Oxbow: • Poor appetite, poor weight gain – add to regular feeds • Diarrhoea – Oxbow used as a supplement or substitute for milk. • Weaning stresses – additional nutriment as milk is withdrawn. Vetafarm being used through weaning in current trials. OTHER WILDLIFE BENEFITTING – in Sydney Wildlife BRUSHTAIL POSSUMS Excellent results in cases of poor appetite/underweight problems and Page 78


diarrhoea. • Case #1 – severe diarrhoea for 5 weeks. When milk was stopped the diarrhoea stopped. However this young joey needed his milk so Oxbow was added to the milk – this made the difference - there was no more diarrhoea and he started to put on weight normally. • Case #2 – this joey, rescued at 40g. had had constant diarrhoea for 10 weeks! He had been treated with antibiotics and probiotics, with no effect. His very experienced carer had tried everything known. We started him on Oxbow in his milk and his faeces immediately started to firm up – the first pellets appearing 4 days later! He is now 400g. and doing very well. • Case #3 – 350g. joey came in with mother dying from poisoning. This joey would not take formula, ate only a few leaves and went downhill for two weeks. At this stage Oxbow was added to the formula and he immediately took 15mls. Over the next few days his appetite and intake increased to normal for his age. Once normal feeding was established Oxbow was discontinued (after one week) and he has progressed to develop normally. We have had reports of success with Oxbow with other herbivore marsupials – wombats, koalas and kangaroos. There is a lot to learn but certainly the possibilities are encouraging. Wildlife Rescue Magazine

Dr. Anne Fowler has given us some ‘Potential Uses for OxbowCC’ • Give around caecal colonisation time in healthy orphan possums. We are currently trialling Vetafarm with two joeys at this stage. • Give when macropod/wombat joeys are starting to mouth and chew solid food. • Give to sick orphans to assist with normalising gut flora and provide easily digestible energy. Successful trials as described. • Give to sick/injured adults to supplement energy intake or wean back on to solid food. Currently using Vetafarm with a severely injured adult – it is making a good recovery. CONCLUSIONS OxbowCC has been proved to assist in helping sick and malnourished wildlife. OxbowCC saved every potential Caecal Stasis victim in the controlled study. No negative effects have been noted with the use of OxbowCC or Vetafarm Critta Care Herbivore. The supplements are readily available and easy to feed. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Oxbow Australia Vetafarm Terry McKay Dr.Anne Fowler Uta Wicke Ian Young Sydney Wildlife Carers: Carol Abbott, Lee Adolfson, Dianna Bissett,

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Glenda Clark, Frances Heath, Holly Manwaring, Helen Merkel, Claire Newman, David and Janice Pitt, Claire Seccombe

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Willy Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)

Jodie Blackney

Edited by NSW Vet: Dr Ross Perry Common Name: Willy Wagtail, also spelt Willie Wagtail. Description: The Willy Wagtail is the largest, and most well-known native bird to Australia. There are Three subspecies recognised: • eucophrys from central and southern Australia, • the smaller picata from northern Australia and • the larger melaleuca from New Guinea and the islands. The Willy Wagtail belongs to the Fantail family. They grow from 18.5 to 21.5 cm. Its plumage is entirely black on top with a white tummy, it also has white eyebrows and white whisker marks. The young birds look similar to the adult birds, the only difference is they have a paler, slightly rusty edge on the feathers of their wings. Habitat: Widespread and abundant, the Willy Wagtail is found throughout most of the Eastern and South-eastern mainland of Australia, and Northern Tasmania, but is not found in Northern Queensland. They live in most open forests and woodlands. They prefer the wetter areas, with lots of leaf-litter, for

A Willy Wagtail. Photographed by Jeremy Ringma Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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feeding, and mud that is available for building their nest. The Willy Wagtail is at home in a wide variety of habitats. It lives almost in any habitat except for very dense forests; it prefers semi-open woodland or grassland with scattered trees, often near wetlands or bodies of water. Although the Willy Wagtail is most often seen singly or in pairs, they may form flocks in winter and often mix with other types of birds. Behaviour: The Willy Wagtail is almost always on the move and is rarely still for more than a few moments during daylight hours. Even while perching it will flick its tail from side to side, twisting about looking for prey. It is called a "wagtail" because it constantly wags its tail in a sideways motion. The Willy Wagtail is highly territorial and can be quite fearless in defending its territory. The male and female will both defend their territory against other birds, dogs, cats and other pairs of willy wagtails, enlarging their eye brows in threat. Defeat is signaled by reducing the eyebrows and retreating. Their territories range from 1-3 ha area. They generally are more defensive in the breeding season. Food: Willy Wagtails eat a wide variety of arthropods, including butterflies, moths, flies, spiders, centipedes, beetles, weevils, fly larvae, sugar ants, grasshoppers, crickets, Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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A Willy wagtail taking a drink. Photographed by Jan Martin

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Willy Wagtail with a dragonfly. Photographed by Grahame Bowland

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A willy wagtail in care. It is best to try to have more than one in care however sometimes that is impossible. Photographed by Elizabeth Nathan.

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millipedes, cockroaches, earwigs, ladybirds, caterpillars, ants, cicadas, bees, termites, lacewings and mosquitoes, wasps and bees. While Willy Wagtails are in care they must be offered insects which are soft â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not hard or sharp.

The nest of a Willy wagtail is made up of Spiderweb,, here you can see the parentto-be still creating its nest. Photographed by Nihal.

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At Fishermans Beach Long Reef in NSW, willy wagtails feed extensively and intensely on the flies hovering over the rotting kelp. Fruit flies Drosophila can be bred in a large dry fish tank for fledglings in short term care, just add rotting fruit and use of a UV light at night to attract soft insects â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this would be helpful. (With thanks to Dr Ross Perry for this information.)

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They are very active when they feed, darting around lawns as they catch their food. Willy Wagtails are often seen with domestic and farm animals, like cattle and sheep, where they may run behind them while they are moving and snatch the insects as they are disturbed. Breeding: Willy Wagtails usually pair for life. The breeding season is Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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mainly from August to February, anywhere up to four broods may be raised during this time. The nest is a neatly woven cup made of grasses, mud, strips of bark and other fibrous material which is then covered with spider's web on the outside and lined inside with soft grasses, hair or fur. The nest of the Willy Wagtail may be re-used in successive years, or an old nest is often destroyed and the materials used in the construction of a new nest. The nests are normally built on a horizontal branch of a tree, or other similar structure. The female lays two to four, cream- white coloured eggs, which are speckled with grey and brown. Both male and female sit on the eggs and the young birds hatch after about 14 days. Once hatched, both parents take part in feeding the young, and may

This willy wagtail couple have chosen to build their nest precariously at the end of a twiggy branch. Photographed by Susan A. Sneath

Willy wagtail chicks. Photographed by Hone Morihana Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Willy Wagtail on her nest in the Warriewood Wetlands, Northern Sydney, NSW. Photographed by Richard Fabiszweski

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Willy wagtail on her eggs. Photographed by Susan A. Sneath

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Recently hatched chicks and an egg of the willy wagtail. Photographed by Maraika Mason

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Willy wagtail chicks. Photographed by Susan A. Sneath

continue to do so while the female lays more eggs, the nestlings remain in the nest for around 14 days before fledging, the mother will lay another brood of eggs and the nestlings warmth help keep the new eggs warm, so both parents can continue to feed the larger babies, when the young fledge they will stay with the parents for a further two weeks until the eggs from the next clutch start to hatch. Upon leaving, the fledglings will remain hidden in cover nearby for a few days before venturing further afield. Parents will stop feeding them near the end of the second week, as the young birds increasingly forage for themselves. Then they are driven away by the parents.

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Reasons why Willy Wagtails might come into care Natural Hazards – Some Willy Wagtails are injured or displaced during severe storms. After storms the young birds may be found on the ground, having fallen or been blown from the nest. Predation – Cat attacks Humans – Children robbing the nest

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Soon to be fledglings. Photographed by Steve Scally

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Can they be reunited with their Parents? Willy Wagtail fledglings leave the nest sometime before they are able to fly. They will remain around their parents for a few days before venturing further afield. Sometimes a well meaning person might find them and by mistake think that they need help. Always ensure that rescue is necessary. If the Willy Wagtail is a nestling, it does require its parents to survive, so it will need to be reunited with its parents if possible. Returning a nestling to its nest requires making a substitute nest, or placing the young in the original nest. You can make an artificial nest out of an margarine container, or an old flower pot, make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom of either one you use. Do not feed the nestling before you return it, as you want it to beg and scream for food, getting the parents attention. Monitor from a distance to make sure the parents do go down and feed it. If the chick is not claimed by parents within two hours, it will need to be collected and taken to your nearest wildlife rehabilitation organisation. Transporting: The best way to transport a Willy Wagtail is in a small cardboard box with air holes for ventilation, with a clean towel on the bottom to stop the bird from slipping around in the box, February 2013

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Willy Wagtail Fledgling. Photographed by Elizabeth Nathan

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and a feather duster on top so it feels safe and secure. Once the bird is enclosed it should settle down, minimizing feather damage that can occur in an open wire cage or carry basket. Handling: Perform and initial assessment. How active is the Willy Wagtail? Are there are any obvious injuries? Does it need urgent medical attention? If so, take it straight to the vet or an experienced wildlife carer for an assessment. Be aware that even baby birds are afraid of us so do not handle a bird more than necessary. Keep the bird in a quiet place until you can assess any injuries safely. Passing around a baby bird for children or friends to see is unacceptable. These are not pets so do not treat them as such. Keep the bird isolated to avoid spreading disease to other birds and never put your birds near or around domestic pets. If you are not experienced in caring for wildlife, you will need to contact your local Wildlife Rescue Organisation in your area as soon as possible to get advice or for someone to collect the bird. First Aid. Hopefully the homeless or orphaned Willy Wagtail chick will arrive uninjured. Check if it is suffering from any degree of shock, or February 2013

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stress or it may be cold. Signs of shock can be; • Increased heart rate. • Increased respiratory rate. • Dilated pupils. • Decreased body temperature. • Overall depressed appearance. • Heat stress; pantinh (beak open) wings speading. • Sitting at the bottom of the cage, listlessness Willy wagtail chicks can feel quite hot as its body temperature can be five degrees hotter than humans. If it comes in cold, you must immediately place it in a warm, dark box in a quiet place to recover and get its body temperature back to normal. Do not feed the chick, until you are sure it is warm and stable. Stress causes dehydrating, so all birds coming into care should be treated for dehydration. Fluids should be given at body temperature, dribble the water on the outside of the beak and wait for it to swallow it. Rehydrate with lectade or vytrate, or one teaspoon of glucose in a cup of warm water is ok. A dehydrated bird will have wrinkled skin. If the bird is unable to take any fluids orally, it should be taken to a vet or a very experienced wildlife carer, so they can give subcutaneous (under the skin) injection of fluids. Willy Wagtails in care Willy Wagtails are small Page 91


Willy Wagtails need warmth while they are featherless. Photographed by Ian Lawrie

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insectivores, ground feeders; they are shy and prefer to avoid human company. They have a special niche in the habitat and should be returned to the exact location they were found when released. Mortality rate while in care is very high due to high stress reaction and little or no body reserves of fat. They can be difficult to feed over a prolonged time in care. Young Willy Wagtails are difficult to raise in captivity due to the problem of monitoring energy requirements and their constant need for feeding. Young willy wagtails should be fed as often as every 20 -30 minutes during all daylight hours. If the birds are reared to fledgling stage, the education of the young bird in collection of its food is vital to survival in the wild. There is a high mortality rate at the time of movement to an aviary, due to the higher energy output and the difficultly in monitoring their intake of food. Temperature control is also important for the young willy wagtail as they are so small they will lose heat very quickly. Willy Wagtails are fed by their parents after fledging for up to two weeks, so educating the bird to feed can be encouraged by placing them with adult willy wagtails. Feeding baby Willy Wagtails Willy Wagtails can be difficult to Wildlife Rescue Magazine

A Willy Wagtail fledgling Photographed by Dean Wiles

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feed in captivity, they do not recognize captive food and usually require forceâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; feeding. The sooner a natural diet is provided, the better. Their food should include insects in some portion each day. This can be done by either as a paste for force feeding or as small pieces of insects added to the supplementary food. The supplementary food will need to be high in energy, high in fluid and well balanced. With small birds dehydration is a serious problem. Or you can feed them 50% mince meat and 50% Insectivore Mix (Wombaroo), along with crushed small insects, make into small pellets and before giving them to the chicks, dip them in water, the use of tweezers (plastic is better) makes it easier to place the pellet well back in the mouth when the chick gapes. You can supplement meals with crushed mealworms, squashed pin head crickets or squashed dragon fly lavae. If you use mealworms, you need to separate a few first and kill them by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl, rinse them with cold water and use tweezers to feed or forceps which are much safer (removing the heads). Maggots are a good standby food; however they should not be fed to them for too long as they are very high in fats. (If you live near the beaches of Sydney, lots of maggots inhabit the sand under moist kelp) Wildlife Rescue Magazine

Willy Wagtails depend on their parents to feed them even after they have left the nest but are still fledglings. Phtographed by Dean Wiles

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R8R Fine meat mix

50g fine ground beef 20g crushed dry dog food 2 teaspoons of wheatgerm 1 hard boiled egg but use yolk only for small birds good pinch calcium carbonate add some insectivore mix (Wombaroo) Mix well and from into very small pellets for feeding

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Willy Wagtail chicks will open their gape when the arrival of their parents come to sit on the nest. The movement of the nest is the stimulus, so if you tap the edge of the nest you should get an instant open mouth ready to be filled. If this doesn’t happen straight way maybe try to tap harder or softer on the nest, or gently shake the nest. If tapping and shaking on the nest doesn’t work, try gently touching the fleshy sides of the beak. If all fails you might have to open the chicks mouth and very gently put the food in it. Hygiene when feeding a baby bird is very important. You should always wash your hands before and after feeding baby willy wagtails. Clean the beak and surrounding skin after feeding. Unused food should be discarded. Willy wagtails will defecate Wildlife Rescue Magazine

over the edge of their nests, they will back up to the edge of the nest and deposit their faecal sac over the edge. If the edge of the artificial nest is too high for them to do this, it is important that you change the shape of the nest you have put them in. Willy Wagtail chicks will normally defecate immediately after being fed, so you will have to remove faeces immediately. It is important that the lining of the nest where the feet touch is not slippery. I good idea to put material type bandaids or plaster around the rim They need to be able to grip and the nest shape inside needs to be concave to prevent leg splay etc... Important things to remember; • Never give fluids (glucose and water) to birds until its injuries have been assessed. • Never try to give oral fluids or food to a bird with trauma injuries (concussion, internal injuries and shock) or if the bird is vomiting or coughing. • Never open the bird’s beak from the tip, always open it by putting fingers either side of the beak at the back in front of the jaw and gently prize open. • Never feed milk to birds. • Never pour water down a bird’s beak. • Never feed a cold bird, always warm it up first - both adults and babies.

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Imprinting Any young willy wagtail chick which is being raised by a carer, will to some extent become imprinted. To avoid imprinting on the young birds, try to when feeding the chicks do so in a way they cannot see you always and avoid all eye contact. The less handling of the young birds, the better. It is important that a young willy wagtail chick coming into care, will hopefully have some siblings with it or if you have any other willy wagtails in care they will need to be paired up with them immediately. Nestling Housing Nestling - unfeathered willy wagtails need a temperature between 33c – 37c. This will need to be gradually lowered as the feathers begin to grow. The artificial nest should be in a hospital box or cage and the environment should be kept humid. It is easier to feed the bird if the hospital box or cage has a door that opens from the top. Nestling willy wagtails can be housed in a lined dish or ice cream/margarine container, depending on how big it is. Bunch up paper toweling or toilet paper so that the nestling is cushioned on all sides. It can be lightly covered with a feather duster to stimulate the mother sitting on it. The nestling should be able to place their behinds over the edge of their nest to deposit their package of

faecal sac. Willy wagtails require a higher temperature, as they are small birds they lose body heat much faster than other larger birds. They will die if over–heated then if under heated. To help regulate the temperature, start with a lower temperature and increase it until the correct temperature is reached. (between 33-37c) If you are using a light bulb as a source of heat, it is recommended to use coloured 25 or 40watt light bulbs rather than white or clear ones. If you need to decrease or increase the temperature adjust the height of the bulb within the hospital box or cage. If you are using a heat pad for a source of heat, you will need to add additional towels on top of the pad to ensure the babies don’t get too hot. The babies then can be placed in their cage or container on the covered heat pad. All birds need some sunlight in order to produce vitamin D, which is essential for the absorption of calcium. If you can place the willy wagtail somewhere it can receive sunlight each day ( not through glass), that would help with them getting their vitamin D intake. If you cannot do this, you will need to add to its diet Vitafarm “Calcivet Liquid Calcium and Vitamin D3 Supplement for Birds”. This is a specially formulated as a supplement providing calcium, vitamin D3 and magnesium to be added to their Page 95


Willy Wagtails in Care â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they like to poop over the edge of the nest so make sure that they have access to do this. Photographed by Tracy Brownell

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drinking water or sprinkled over their food. Cages and Aviaries A correct size cage is the most important factor to consider when housing a willy wagtail. A planted aviary is best, they should not be caught for force–feeding once placed in the avairy. Water should be for them, this is essential. They require a natural housing, to reduce stress, and encourage natural feeding and provide essential exercise. Insects in plentiful supply need to be in the aviary, provided at all times in a small water bowl /dish or tray. Caution must be taken when installing water bowls or dishes in the aviary as not to make them too big, a rock can be placed in the bowl to assist the willy wagtail when drinking. Their aviary should have an area which provides shelter, shade and keeps the willy wagtails dry and warm in all weather conditions. This can be provided by plenty of natural shrubs, grasses and trees in the aviary for them to rest and hide in. Place a kitty litter tray on the floor of the aviary and put heaps of bugs daily in it, for them to practice hunting. Also to encourage insects into the aviary, place rotten fruit in a tray. This will attract insects for the Willy wagtails so they start to forage and hunt for food. Interestingly, at the Sydney Wildlife Rescue Magazine

beaches kelp is plentiful, maggots can be found under moist kelp and these can be placed in the aviary. Willy Wagtails love to perch, so a suitable number of perches and of varying sizes are needed, so as not to lead to feet and claw conditions. Hygiene and Cleaning • Always maintain good hygiene habits. Clean out all cages and perches daily. • Water bowls should be emptied, scrubbed and refilled daily. • Food bowls should be cleaned every day. Excess food removed, food bowl washed in disinfectant and rinsed thoroughly. The mess around the feed areas should be cleaned up. • Faeces should be scrubbed daily from perches, aviary wire and walls. • Regular changing of the branches, grasses so they are always fresh. Release Willy Wagtails should be released (soft release) at the site of capture, unless there is a very good reason not to. As willy wagtails are territorial, it will return to the family group once released. A common mistake is to keep birds too long in captivity; nestlings need to be released 5-6 weeks from the time of perching. Once the willy wagtails have full plumage and are able to take off from the ground and fly, they should be released.

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In the wild the Willy Wagtail likes to perch on thin branches, even when feeding their young. Photographed by Susan A Sneath

Willy Wagtails in a nest as fledglings. Photographed by Steve Scally Page 97


Willy Wagtails should not be kept too long, as soon as they can fly they should be released back to their family group. Photographed by Elizabeth Nathan

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Willy Wagtails should get a soft release, which means setting it free while providing a degree of support following the release. You might have to leave a tray of insects around at the release site until it is more confident in its new surroundings, and hopefully unites with its family members. References • Caring for Australian Native Birds by Heather Parsons, 1999 • http://www.birdsinbackyards .net/species/Rhipidura-leucophrys • Caring for Australian Wildlife by Sharon White, 1998 • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Willie_Wagtail • Identification and care of chicks, nestlings and fledgings by Norma Henderson

A proud Willy Wagtail. Photographed by Richard Fabiszewski

We would like to thank Dr Ross Perry for editing this article for its use in the Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Trowunna Wildlife Park

Trowunna has been conserving and rehabilitating native Tasmanian wildlife since 1979 and we have successfully rehabilitated countless orphaned native wildlife such as wombats, Tasmanian devils, quolls and a variety of birds to name a few. Trowunna has been operating successful breeding programs, specifically Tasmanian Devils and quolls for over the past 25 years. Trowunnaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Devil population is of highest priority due to the breeding success since 1985 and is recognised as one of the longest continuous breeding programs of any species in the world under studbook conditions. 1892 Mole Creek Road, Mole Creek, Tasmania 7304 Wildlife Rescue Magazine

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Telephone: +61 3 6363 6162 Fax: +61 3 6367 6213 E-mail: info@trowunna.com.au Page 102


Trowunna Wildlife Park

Specialised One Day Courses on Tasmanian Devils and Wombats These one day workshops are especially for those interested in a career in the wildlife industry. Each one day course is held on Fridays from 9am- 6pm (bookings only), with a BBQ lunch; morning and afternoon tea provided. The course will be delivered through demonstrations and practical husbandry sessions consisting of handling, husbandry and observation of animals in the captive collection on site. The participants of the Wombat (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis) Workshop will also be given demonstrations and practical husbandry sessions consisting of handling, husbandry and observation of animals in the captive collection on site.

The cost of The Tasmanian Devil Workshop and The Wombat Workshop includes printed materials, venue hire and personalised hands on Tasmanian Devil/Wombat training. Each course is $300. 1892 Mole Creek Road, Mole Creek, Tasmania 7304 Telephone: +61 3 6363 6162 Fax: +61 3 6367 6213 E-mail: info@trowunna.com.au www.trowunna.com.au/


Trowunna Wildlife Park

The Tasmanian Devil and Dasyurid Captive Management Course

Run by Androo Kelly this course will be held at Trowunna Wildlife Park on 29th October to 2nd November 2012. This two part course is divided into a number of sequential modules. The first part of the course being offered (Module 1) consists of competency in Dasyurid husbandry for display, focusing on Tasmanian Devils. The second part (Module 2) will be held at Trowunna from the 4th- 8th March 2013, module 2 consists of advanced husbandry for breeding and exhibit design. The course will be delivered on site at Trowunna Wildlife Park located in the central north of Tasmania. The cost of The Tasmanian Devil and Dasyurid Captive Management Course with Androo Kelly, printed study materials; venue hire; hands on training with occasional one on one Tasmanian Devil training over the 5 days is $1,200. 1892 Mole Creek Road, Mole Creek, Tasmania 7304 Telephone: +61 3 6363 6162 Fax: +61 3 6367 6213 E-mail: info@trowunna.com.au www.trowunna.com.au/


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Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary TA S M A N I A Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary’s passion and work centres around helping our native wildlife survive. We thrive on educating as many people as possible about how we can all help save, rehabilitate and release injured animals. All of Bonorong’s ‘residents’ undergo meticulous assessments to ensure they are healthy and happy in our care.

Are you passionate about wildlife?

Would you like to become a wildlife rescuer? Central to our work is Bonorong’s volunteer FOC Wildlife Program. (Friends of Carers, Friends of Critters, Free of Charge.) This is Tasmania’s first community run wildlife assistance service, designed to help our devoted volunteer carers and the many native animals in need. We are always looking for new volunteers to help nurse our wildlife back to health. Once trained for Bonorong’s FOC program, participants can register to become part of Bonorong’s rescue team, spread across Hobart and beyond so that when Bonorong receives a call about an injured creature on its wildlife hotline can look through the database of rescuers and find the closest person to the incident. Being a rescuer is very non-invasive. When an animal is reported orphaned or injured a group text is sent to all the volunteers in that area and people can choose to do the rescue or ignore it if they are busy. From that point animals are either taken to a vet or cared for by the rescuer for less than 24 hours, while Greg arranges for their transport to Bonorong where they are assigned to another group of local heroes, the wildlife carers! Find out more at www.bonorong.com.au/foc_program.html

Come and experience the ultimate Tasmanian wildlife evening! The ULTIMATE experience for any wildlife lover who thrives on the up close and personal experience! This two and a half hour fully guided feeding tour of the park has been a massive success this year and has received the most incredible feedback. You will be inside the enclosures with animals such as tawny frogmouths, golden possum, wombats, bettongs, sugar gliders and many more. Hand feed a Tasmanian devil! Most of our animals in Tasmania are nocturnal or awake at dusk and dawn. We time your exclusive tour to catch perfect viewing of all the animals. All across the park animals emerge from their daytime slumber and reclaim the night. Find out more at www.bonorong.com.au/night_tours.html


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Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Rescue Training Sessions We have some more training sessions scheduled so please read the info below! If you haven’t done so already please book in for one of the sessions so you can start actively getting involved in the program. The training sessions are run so that our FOC members learn everything to do with wildlife rescue and transportation and how to make a rescue kit. You MUST attend one training session before you can help out with animal rescues. This is for your own safety and the safety of the animals that you are rescuing. We need as many of you trained as possible to get the program working even more effectively so please try hard to find a session that suits you and book in. Every month we have training sessions. (Please note – training sessions are all the same so you are only required to attend one.) Contact bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary for next training sessions - phone: 03 6268 1184. The training sessions run for approximately 2 hours 15 minutes and there is no cost involved. Please bring along a note pad, pen and warm clothes! (This is if you are coming to an evening session, it can be chilly at Bonorong!) All sessions are run at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in the ‘Bush Tucker Shed’, or occasionally we run a session at UTAS usually in the Life Sciences Lecture Theatre in Sandy Bay. If the course you book in for is at Bonorong then when you arrive at Bonorong please park your car in the top car park (not the first one you get to) as far up as possible. The building at the top end of this car park is the bush tucker shed and there is an access door at the back of the building that people will be able to use when they arrive. If you choose a UTAS course then you will be given directions about one week before the date once we have confirmed what room we will be using. petra@bonorong.com.au

Please RSVP for a training session via return email or by phoning Bonorong on 6268 1184. Children are welcome and you may bring along interested family members or friends as long as you include them in your RSVP. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. We look forward to hearing from you soon! Visit us at 593 Briggs Road, Brighton, Tasmania 7030

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What to do with a Wiggling Wombat Linda Dennis is proud to present the two hour course, What to do with a Wiggling Wombat, a Fauna First Aid lecture. There are two sessions of "Wiggling Wombat", one for pre-schoolers and one directed at children in infants and primary school.

Fauna First Aid

Although titled "Wiggling Wombat" the course covers all native animals including birds, kangaroos, reptiles, koalas and of course wombats!

The Program

The course includes the following topics: • What do you do if you come across a wiggling wombat in distress? • How does your mum or dad pick up a wiggling wombat? • What do you feed a wiggling wombat?

Fauna First Aid is a wildlife lecture program that Linda established in 2004. The lectures are aimed at wildlife carers, veterinary nurse students, schools and community groups. Fourth Crossing Wildlife is incredibly proud to announce that the Australian Geographic Society supports Fauna First Aid. Linda could not be more honoured to receive this support and thanks the Australian Geographic Society from the bottom of her heart. The support, donations and sponsorship from the Australian Geographic Society will help Linda teach the public – adults and children alike – how to correctly handle native animals that have been injured or are in distress which will help prevent the animal and the handler from being injured during contact. If you are interested in learning more about the Fauna First Aid lectures, or would like to book a session then please email Linda at linda@fourthcrossingwildlife.com.

In the fun filled program Linda shares stories of some of the native animals that have been in her care over the 10 years she's been a wildlife carer. The inaugural "Wiggling Wombat" at Trinity Preschool in Orange, NSW

There was also a "take a wild guess" competition using photographs and the wonderful native animal soft toys that were donated to the program by the Australian Geographic Society and Mink Plush (a Division of TomFoolery Holdings Pty Ltd). Bookmarks featuring native animals, and chocolate Freddo Frogs, Caramello Koalas and Fruity Frogs are given as prizes. During the competition Linda also displayes how to properly handle a native animal so that the handler and the animal are not injured. She also advises what the "nasty bits" are in each animal species, such as claws and teeth (and in the male Platypus’ case – the poisonous spurs!).

Class photo at Trinity Preschool

The two hour long presentation has the kids transfixed and keen to learn more. An eight page booklet titled "What to do with a Wiggling Wombat" is also eagerly received. This mini-manual, which details correct handling technique, is distributed to all students for them to take home and share with their families. The Fauna First Aid program is not only fun for participants but also educational and in the long run our precious native animals will benefit from Linda's knowledge sharing.

Class K12 group photo, Gum Flat Public School

The more the community knows about rescuing and providing short term care for native animals the better. And in the end, from a combined community effort, there will be more animals that are received into care and rehabilitated by experienced wildlife carers, resulting in more animals being returned to the bush… which is exactly where they belong. If you would like to book a Fauna First Aid session for your school or community group please contact Linda at linda@fourthcrossingwildlife.com.

Fourth Crossing Wildlife is supported and sponsored by the Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia - they do a lot to support my work


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Issue 6A Wildlife Rescue Magazine