Carers stories 2017
On this page
we will keep you informed about animals that you have brought in to
care with WIRES Northern Rivers branch. If you would like to know about
a particular animal, please email us, and we will do what we can to
keep you up to date.
This Little Corella was in care for 3 weeks after suffering a shoulder injury from a car collision.
Once recovered he was released back into one of the flocks in Casino. He flew in a large circle then joined the others who were feeding on the ground in a paddock.
It is lovely to watch these cheeky vocal birds who carry on conversations even in flight.
Corellas are one of the few species who engage in 'play' and some corellas have discovered that street light covers provide great entertainment. They have worked out how to unscrew the fittings on one side to release the cover, in order for them to swing in the 'seat' this provides.
By Melanie Barsony
When Carol and Peter saw a Mountain Brushtail possum sheltering on their porch they knew something was not quite right, possums are usually safely asleep out of sight during daylight hours.
They called WIRES and the possum was brought into care for observation.
Nothing was found to be wrong apart from the obvious, finding suitable shelter is not easy these days when you are young and venturing out on your own.
A possum box was made, WIRES volunteers erected the box high in a suitable tree and Penny Possum as she was named by Carol and Peter was soon back home in Clunes, now the proud owner of the best possum real estate in the area.
Thank you Carol and Peter for caring about this beautiful young female, and for allowing her to live in peace in your yard.
Images by Jeanette Dundas & Wendy Leighton
Platypus are those fascinating animals we all love to see in our creeks and dams, but rarely are lucky enough to spot one. Bangalows Wetland Park on Byron Creek is one of those fortunate places that these unique Australian mammals can be seen.
All adults platypus have burrows, either for breeding or shelter, in which they rest during the day. As Platypus spend most of their time within their burrows they are usually only seen in very early morning or late evening when they go into the water to feed.
They feed most of the night, using sensory electro-receptors located on their bill. Eyes, nostrils and ears closed they feed on the bottom life of the creek. Favourite food consists of prawns, small yabbies, worms, snails, water beetles insect larvae.
So what is the Platypus doing in Bangalow at this time of the year?
Burrow locations along the creek bank are well concealed by overhanging vegetation and at this time of year the female platypus will have blocked off her nest at the end of a long ‘breeding’ burrow. So it’s probably a good idea to stay off the creek banks to minimise disturbance. It is also advisable to keep dogs away from the creek banks as they tend to dig when they discover a burrow.
Breeding will have already taken place over the last few months when the female will have layed 1 or 2 eggs. By now the newly hatched Platypus, which are called Puggles, will be growing rapidly by suckling from their mother over the next 4 -5 months. During this time the Puggles are totally dependent on Mum and the safety of their burrow.
WIRES rarely have Platypus or their Puggles come into care as they are fairly safe in their aquatic habitat. However, the most common reason Platypus get into trouble is when creeks rise due to flash flooding. Juvenile Puggles can be washed into the creek by floodwaters and washed away from mum and the burrow. It is around January & February when this is most likely to occur, however it is a good idea to stay vigilant from the beginning of our wet season. If you live near creeks or rivers or are visiting Bangalows Wetlands, please look out for young Platypus as a young one may be able to be saved if found in time.
When juvenile platypus start to emerge from their nursery burrows in February they are inexperienced and inquisitive. They can end up in some unusual and inappropriate places such as farm paddocks or suburban swimming pools. Dispersing males in particular may leave their ‘natal’ water source in search of another and can be often found travelling overland. This is a normal practise but leaves them out of water and extremely vulnerable. If you do find a “lost” platypus, remember that they are wild animals with specialised living requirements. Best call WIRES on 66281898 immediately for advice.
Platypus will become stressed if you pick them up, so what do you do? Firstly, be extremely careful if you have to pick up a Platypus, as the males have a spur, located on their hind ankles which can cause extreme pain. Never place your hands under the Platypus, use a towel or jumper to lift the platypus into a box or similar. If a Platypus appears to be active and alert, it should be taken to the nearest creek or river with good vegetation along the bank and released immediately.
How can we help the Platypus? Keeping our rivers clean is important. Remove all dumped rubbish of any kind as the inquisitive nature of the Platypus can see it become tangled and are unable to swim free. Platypus are often caught and die in yabbie traps, and these traps should never be used in any creek. Remove them if you find one.
Re-vegetating creek banks is a great way to improve creek stability and provide habitat for aquatic species.
Enjoy watching Platypus from a safe viewing distance
By Sharon McGrigor
Life as a WIRES member is never dull. WIRES volunteer Marion has a busy life raising her children, a job and a WIRES volunteer.
These are all animals Marion rescued on 23 November, yes all in one day.
A Squirrel Glider joey weighing just 43 gram found in the middle of the road at Federal was rescued and transported to another WIRES volunteer. Once settled the little orphan was buddied up with a number of others already in care at the same stage of development. They will all be released once old enough to face life in the wild.
A tiny Flying fox pup found on the side of the road at Goonellabah, transferred to a Flying Fox carer with others of the same age in care.
Shortly after near Lismore an Antechinus was found under a dining room table, most likely kidnapped by the household cat. Due to the cats involvement the Antechinus needed antibiotic treatment and will be raised with other Antechinus in care till all are old enough to fend for themselves in the wild.
Crossing the road proved fatal for a family of ducks, mum was killed as were all siblings of this little Wood duckling. Marion was quickly on the scene and the tiny bundle was transferred to another volunteer where the duckling joined a number of little orphaned duckling currently in care.
Would you like to help native animals in distress? Join WIRES, once a member your availability is entirely up to you. Some members choose just a few hours a week, others like Marion who lives in a busy area keep an eye on our internal communication system and responds when she is available.
Send us an email for information on how to join.
Please call our rescue hotline on 66281898 if you find a native animal in need of help.
Images by Marion Nel
A pair of Kookaburras found a termite mound high in a beautiful gum tree a suitable place to call home to lay their eggs and raise their chicks.
Audrey had been keeping an eye on the termite mound and the comings and goings of the Kookaburra parents on her property.
Sadly before their chick was fledged the termite mound started to disintegrate. Their chick now named Jack by his rescuer Audrey came tumbling down.
After Jack was collected by WIRES volunteer and found to be in good health, our volunteer erected a nest box in the gum tree and Jack was placed inside.
It wasn't long before his parents were feeding and celebrating his return with raucous laughter.
Please call WIRES on 66281898 for information or help should you find a native animal in trouble.
Thank you Audrey for being vigilant and saving the life of little Jack.
By Julie Marsh
Wallaby joeys come into WIRES care almost daily, many are orphaned due to car accidents, others as a result of dog attacks and some we can only guess as to why their mothers were fatally injured.
Samaya is a 7.5 month old Red-Necked wallaby and she is in the last category, she was found with her mum who had been torn apart, somehow her joey still in the pouch at the time of the attack survived. As you can see in the picture her ear was ripped she also had some very sharp tears on her legs.
Picture below after 6 weeks in care.
Her wounds have healed and she has settled into care. Now 6 weeks later she has overcome the stress of being orphaned in such extreme circumstances, she is happily interacting with other joeys in care of similar stage of development.
Sadly not all calls to out hotline have a happy ending. Our emergency hotline received a call from a distraught member of public at Nimbin where a late night drama was unfolding. A bright yellow Porsche sports car had pulled up in Nimbin after having hit a macropod (at relatively slow speed) and discovering it caught in the front of the car, still very much alive.
WIRES volunteer Natalie rushed to the scene where she found the animal was a pademelon REALLY stuck inside the grill.
Natalie worked to free the pademelon for more than an hour but there was no way to get it out from the gap with sharp metal risking further injury to the pademelon and also herself as the access was extremely limited.
Exhausted, Natalie had to return home to feed other animals, but fortunately Laura, another WIRES volunteer, happened to be driving past. She stopped to help and then returned with a neighbour, who managed to dismantle the front of the car and got the adult male pademelon out without causing further damage to the animal.
The Porsche owners drove the pademelon to a WIRES macropod carer where the pademelon was sedated and administered pain killers before being examined. Everyone expected that the pademelon had been severely injured; however there were no breaks visible. The only injury evident was a cut which was cleaned and bandaged. The pademelon had before sedation not moved his tail; our WIRES macropod carer knew this was sadly not a good sign.
The Porche owners returned home and our WIRES volunteers finally crawled into bed well after 2am. The Pademelon was sleeping soundly under sedation.
The next day he was seen by Jodie at Lismore Central Vet clinic where he was again sedated and x-rayed. Our fears were confirmed and he did have a break to his spine just above the tail. Sadly he had to be euthanised.
Although this wasn't a happy outcome, it was a great team effort by the many people, all doing their best to help this little guy.
Please call WIRES on 66281898 if you come across an orphaned or injured animal.
Images by Brigitte & Renata Phelps
Masked Lapwings, or plovers are they are commonly known, nest on the ground in grassy areas or open paddocks, sadly their eggs and chicks are vulnerable to predators such as dogs and foxes. As urban development continues, plovers have discovered that flat roofs provide a safer nesting position for their eggs, however once the chicks hatch there are real problems.
Some species of ducks, like our Wood Ducks, nest high in trees and the ducklings leap out of the nest hollows onto leafy ground to follow their parents.
Unfortunately, plover chicks do not have the webbed feet that slow the ducklings down during their free fall, so often become badly injured.
Once the chicks leave the nest one would hope their troubles are over, sadly again they face problems. WIRES rescue hotline regularly receives calls about tiny plover chicks and ducklings caught in drains. WIRES volunteers call the Council Ranger to lift the drain cover in order for the chicks to be recovered from the drain and if uninjured returned to their anxious parents.
If the chicks have been trapped for some time they are brought into care and hydrated before being returned to the parent birds waiting to hear the chirping of their chicks.
Recently a local preschool called WIRES when they realised a pair of plovers had nested on the roof and one chick had sadly landed on the concrete and perished. The second chick was also injured but after some time in care reunited with its parents.
Many thanks goes to our Council Rangers for acting so promptly to our requests and to members of the public that call WIRES and keep an eye on where the parent birds are located so the chicks can be reunited once recovered.
Images by Melanie Barsony & Sharon McGrigor
WIRES Hotline receives numerous calls about Flying-foxes entangled on fences. This happens repeatedly each year from September to November when females are pregnant or heavily laden with a ‘pup’ they are nursing.
Flying-foxes carry their pups on their underbelly until their young are able to fend for themselves at about 4 months old. This is when they can fly and feed independently. Until that age is reached and while the pups are being carried and growing heavier the female can tire easily and misjudge fence heights and clearances. This is what is currently happening and Flying-foxes and their Pups are coming into care with horrid wing-torn injuries from these entanglements.
Flying-foxes are listed as vulnerable to extinction. They are crucial pollinators of our forests. Unfortunately many species of wildlife get caught on barbed wire fences when they are near water or fruiting and flowering trees. If it is absolutely necessary to use barbed wire please consider using plain wire for the top strand of wire. You can also improve the visibility of the fence near these danger spots using flagging tape, shiny metal tags or bunting.
If you see a Flying-fox entangled, injured or alone during the daytime, do not touch. Simply cover with a light sheet and call WIRES and one of our vaccinated trained volunteers will rescue the bat.
This female Flying Fox was rescued from barbed wire at Dyraaba. Sadly she lost her baby shortly after rescue, but with WIRES volunteers dedicated care she recovered from significant injuries to her wing membranes and was released after 6 weeks in care.
Images Kim McCully
An adult Black Kite was found recently in a most unusual place. A first for WIRES, the bird was found completely tangled in the netting of a soccer goalpost.
The bird was very stressed and dehydrated from the entanglement, but luckily suffered no injury or feather damage. After a few days of rehydration, rest and food he was taken back to the soccer oval for release.
An amazing event occurred on release. ‘Pele’ disappeared from sight and then returned circling low over the release team.
He then flew off and was immediately joined by his mate who had been patiently waiting for his return. The two birds frolicked in the wind for the next half hour, providing an amazing aerial courtship display.
This emphasises the importance of returning a bird or animal to its ‘home range’ especially during the breeding season.
Black Kites, like so many other birds of prey, can pair up for life. When nesting they rely heavily on each other. The female will incubate the eggs & nurture young while the male provides food. Once the young have fledged the birds may join up with other isolated pairs to form large flocks. The Black Kite is the only Australian raptor known to do this.
Image Marion Nel, Sharon McGrigor & Melanie Barsony
Lismore Council employees had been keeping an eye on the progress of a pair of Tawny Frogmouths nesting at the Council depot. Rod called WIRES after the parent Tawnies had not been seen for some time, and predator birds were threatening the chicks.
Luckily there was a cherry picker available; the council safety assessment officer present as well when WIRES volunteers arrived and two tiny chicks were safely brought to the ground. They were taken into care by WIRES volunteer Julie. The area is checked each day for signs of the parent birds but sadly they have not turned up.
Should the parent Tawnies show up the chicks will be taken back to the Council depot, if not they will be released once they are old enough to fend for themselves.
Thank you to Lismore City Council employees for looking out for these tiny bundles.
Images Marion Nel
After a week in care the chicks are growing and thriving in WIRES cere. Sadly still no sign of the parent birds.
Image by Julie Marsh
WIRES recently received a distressing phone call from two tourists visiting the Byron Bay Lighthouse who had accidentally hit and killed a female Swamp Wallaby. After stopping to check the dead wallaby’s’ pouch they realised she had a joey, who was very much alive and luckily uninjured. So they contacted WIRES, and Skippy as she was named, is now in care with a second orphaned joey about the same age. The two little orphans will be reared together and released in about 5 months.
The ‘Swampy’, as it is known locally, is the dominant Wallaby species found on our Byron coastline and they are often found on the roadsides leading up to the Lighthouse. They rest during the day in the thick undergrowth and venture out at dawn and dusk to browse on the roadside verges.
WIRES would like to urge the public to stay alert when driving on our local roads. Please check the pouches of fatally injured wildlife and call WIRES to report accidents. The immediate area must also be checked for a joey that may have been thrown out of the pouch on impact.
Images Sue Ulyatt
It is maternity time for our flying-foxes. Flying-fox females give birth to one pup each year and care for them for about four months. This image is of a black flying-fox and her two week old pup rescued by WIRES after becoming entangled in fruit tree netting.
The pup is draped across mum’s chest and has his head deep inside her wing pit attached to her nipple. Mum is using one of her feet to clutch the pup to her.
Fortunately her injuries are minimal and her lactation is good so she can be released with her pup quite soon.
Image Lib Ruytenberg
During October which is breeding time for Tawnies, there is an increase in calls to the WIRES Hotline 66281898 to rescue Tawny Frogmouths in trouble.
Tawny Frogmouths mate for life, their nest is a loose platform of sticks where the female will lay 2-3 eggs. Sadly when we have a bout of wet and windy weather the chicks can easily fall to the ground. In most cases the young tawny isn't injured, it is kept in WIRES care until the weather has cleared and then reunited with its family.
These 5 Tawny Frogmouths were rescued over a 24 hour period due to our recent wet and windy weather. Two were blown down and became caught in fences; the other 3 were found on the ground wet and bedraggled.
Once the weather cleared the three older tawnies were reunited with their families, the two younger tawnies are still in care. They will be reunited with their individual families when they are able to perch a bit better as their nests are too high to reach.
The tawny is a nocturnal bird. During the day they blend in with their surrounds sitting still and upright.
They become active at dusk feeding on beetles, frogs, mice and other small prey. They catch their prey with their wide beak.
By Julie Marsh
EASTERN BLUE-TONGUE LIZARDS
The Blue-tongue Lizard is the largest of Australia’s 300 species of skinks, with a lifespan of 30 years.
Blue-tongues take shelter at night and emerge early in the morning to bask in sunny areas before foraging for food during the day. As an opportunistic feeder, Blue-tongues are a great asset in the garden as they love eating snails, caterpillars and other pests.
To keep lizards safe in your garden environment create plenty of places to hide such as; rocks, hollow logs, low shrubby bushes and lots of leaf litter. Put out fresh water, daily, in a sturdy container. Place a rock or something similar in the water so smaller lizards can climb out safely should they fall in.
Threats to Blue-tongues are many. They do not run away when danger threatens but puff themselves up and stick out their tongues, not a good defence against a lawn mower or pets. Severe damage and death to these native animals can often occur when they become victims of domestic dog and cat attacks. Also be alert when mowing tall grass and avoid using toxic chemicals and snail pellets.
As the Blue-tongue is very adaptable to living in suburbia, they may become quite accustomed to you and your family. So enjoy watching these little pest managers as they are a wonderful native animal to share your garden.
By Sharon McGrigor
Constipation is an embarrassing business, and this Echidna puggle needed some help because it had been over 2 weeks....requiring the delicate business of an enema performed by Alstonville vet. After 15 minutes success beyond our wildest dreams. Happy Days!
Scroll down to September 23 and read about when two tiny puggles came in to care, both have now opened their eyes, this is one of the two.
Image by Alstonville vet
This goanna was driven to Casino Vet Clinic after being found on the road near Tabulam. Casino Vet Phil examined and x-rayed the goanna and while there were no fractures, it was suffering a significant head injury and possibly internal injuries.
It was transferred by WIRES volunteers to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for specialist treatment the following day together with a second Goanna also suffering severe injuries from a car accident.
Now 8 days later both Goannas are almost ready to come back from Currumbin Wildlife Hospital and will be in WIRES care for extended time before they will be ready to be released back to the wild.
They will be cared for by one of our trained reptile volunteers with enclosures specially designed for their needs.
Should you find an injured Goanna please contact WIRES before handling the animal, they are defensive and should not be handled unless you are trained in how to, and have the correct equipment for transport.
Goanna's find their food by searching widely across the landscape, catching animals by stalking or digging them out of shelters and nests. They primarily prey on birds, snakes and seek the eggs of both. They will also opt for an easy meal and feed on carrion.
Images by Melanie Barsony
Today we celebrate L❤️MORE Big Scrub Rainforest Day with a Community Planting & Picnic with Art, Music and Conversation.
ALL WELCOME! JOIN us at the Banyam Baigham Wetlands: Bridge Street North Lismore (near the Showground)
Sadly these two Brown Falcon chicks were not able to be reunited with their parents as they came into care after being handed to a member of the public. Found near Woodburn it was impossible to locate the nest as we had no exact location of where to search.
The nest used by the Falcon is normally an old abandoned nest from another hawk species, but they may build their own stick nest in a tree. Occasionally birds nest in open tree hollows.
The Brown Falcon is widespread in Australia — there is almost nowhere they cannot be seen, the exception being the densest of forests. They are most commonly seen, usually alone, sitting upright on an exposed perch such as a power pole or large dead tree from where prey can be sighted. They are also seen hovering or flying back and forth over open habitats such as deserts, coastal vegetation, agricultural fields, roadsides, forest clearings and especially open grasslands and low shrublands, when searching for prey. Birds may stay within the same areas throughout the year or may move around (locally nomadic) in response to changes in conditions and food availability.
These chicks will be in care for some time yet; once they are able to fly and hunt they will be released back to the wild.
Seen here a week after coming into care.
Thriving in care with trained WIRES Raptor carer.
Images by Melanie Barsony
At dusk on Friday the 22nd Sept this baby Eastern Rosella aka 'Oscar' was found in the middle of the road at Eltham.
Eastern rosellas nest in tree hollows, old timber fence posts and rotting logs on the ground.
To successfully reunite a baby bird it is important to know the exact location where the bird was found. In this case that wasn't possible so 'Oscar' was taken into WIRES care.
As he matures native foods will be introduced to his diet and he will be soft released and support fed until independent.
A few days ago another baby Eastern Rosella came into care. It was being attacked by a currawong.
Fortunately it has no injuries, it is older than 'Oscar' so they will be buddies until it can fly and be reunited.
The buddy system is vital when raising birds of the same species, this minimises the chance of imprinting the bird.
Reuniting young birds is always the best option; WIRES will help guide you through this process if it is possible. Should the bird need to come into care it is vital that it is cared for by trained carers, each species has special needs vital for its long term survival.
If you find a bird in trouble please make a note of the exact location where found and phone WIRES on 66281898.
By Julie Marsh
Last Friday WIRES hotline 66281898 received a call from Pam the librarian at the Goonellabah Community Centre that a magpie was trapped in the foyer.
Usually birds will make their own way out when they find themselves inside a building, but this was not the first time WIRES had been called by Pam.
Last time it was realised there was no chance of the bird finding its way out. Two volunteers attended. Using an extendible pole and a ladder the Magpie was eventually encouraged back outside.
This time the same volunteers attended and the same technique was used, but this magpie wasn't going anywhere it was just becoming more stressed.
Another approach was needed.
The Goonellabah Aquatic Centre is nearby so an extendible pool scoop was borrowed. Still no joy.
Option three was to call the fire brigade. It did not take long before the Goonellabah Firefighters were on the scene and the magpie was safely captured. It was handed to WIRES volunteers, rehydrated and released outside.
A big thank you from WIRES volunteers go to Pam the librarian, the Goonellabah Aquatic Centre and the heroes of the day the Goonellabah Firefighters.
By Marion Nel & Julie Marsh
Sue from Horseshoe Creek knew instantly that something was wrong when she noticed a Barn Owl on the ground. Owls are creatures of the night; they are rarely visible during daylight hours much less on the ground.
Magpies were busy striking at the owl; it tried to fly but only managed a short distance before being struck again. Sue quickly came to its aid, wrapped it in a towel and called WIRES for help.
Sue kindly transported the owl to WIRES volunteer Heather living nearby. Heather recognised straight away that this magnificent bird was only young and had recently fledged. Further discussion with Sue established that there were Barn Owls nesting in a nearby tree hollow.
WIRES volunteer Raptor carer Melanie took the young owl in for observation, much needed fluid and food. After only 4 days it had gained enough strength to fly and it was returned home after dusk to resume its life in the wild with its parents and siblings.
Barn Owls are mostly a nocturnal bird, active by night hunting prey such as small ground mammals, insects, frogs, lizards, rats & mice. During the day they roost in hollow logs or on concealed branches of trees. The Barn Owl is Australia’s most widespread owl.
One of our prettiest owls, they are easily recognised by a delicate heart-shaped fascial disc which surrounds their round pure white face. This disc has a unique application in that it channels vibrations towards the owl’s ears allowing them to pinpoint movement of their prey with great accuracy, in total darkness. The Barn Owl is well known for its ghostly beauty, large black eyes and silent flight. It is the stealth hunter of our night skies.
Image by Heather Payne
High winds as we are experiencing currently can be disastrous for nesting birds and their chicks.
Yesterday morning Narissa from Goonellabah out on her morning walk came across a Topknot pigeon on the ground, obviously distressed as next to her was her chick fallen from the nest.
Narissa looked for the nest hoping she may be able to put the chick back; there was no sign of the nest so she called WIRES for assistance.
WIRES volunteer Julie attended and put up a substitute nest, the chick was placed in the nest with mum pigeon watching from a distance.
Narissa was asked to check on the nest and this is Narissa’s account on the following events:
Well it’s been up and down news re the little Topknot Pidgeon. Yesterday I visited and no sign of the parents. Then Julie from WIRES visited to check bubs crop to see if it had been fed in the new nest and no! So she had to bring the baby home to hand feed.
This morning though all well with the world. Both parents on the new nest (basket) and baby able to be reunited. Whew! Great result. Another win for WIRES. Second photo is of the family together on new nest. Thanks Julie - legend!
The Topknot Pigeon is found only in Australia along the East coast often high in the top of the rainforest canopy hanging from branches, often upside-down eating small native fruits, berries and seeds such as Native figs, Lilly Pilly, Bangalow Palms, Blueberry ash and the list goes on.
These nomadic flock pigeons search our coastal land for food. When early settlers arrived the land was cleared and these large pigeons were hunted for food. This led to a rapid decline in pigeon numbers. In recent times Camphor laurel has provided a substitute diet. Following seasonal fruiting patterns, they can also be found feeding in disturbed areas such as remnant forest patches, exotic trees and shrubs.
Thank you Narissa for caring and calling WIRES.
Images by Narissa Phelps and Julie Marsh
Back in December last year a Tawny frogmouth was found hanging upside down & entangled in netting, she was terrified and trapped.
WIRES was contacted and after freeing the bird it soon became apparent that she was in need of fluid and food, she had possibly been trapped for some time.
After three days she was ready to return home.
WIRES volunteer Deb writes: when I got there her mate was sitting in the tree. I placed her on a lower branch. It was amazing to watch when they saw each other & she slowly made her way up the tree until they were sitting close together.
Earlier this week Deb received a call from the lady that had initially called WIRES re the entangled Tawny, she was worried that a tawny frogmouth sitting alone may be injured.
Deb went to check out the situation and was wonderfully surprised to see that there was nothing wrong with the Tawny, he was keeping watch as his mate, our rescued Tawny from December, was sitting on their nest high above.
By Deb Pearce
Should you come across an injured Echidna please stop and check for a Puggle. Female Echidnas may now be carrying a tiny Puggle. When injured the Puggle may roll away from mum, please check for what may currently look like a golf ball nearby.
Kimberley was driving along Coolamon Scenic Drive last night when she came across an Echidna on the road, obviously in serious trouble, it had been hit by a car.
A tiny puggle was in mums “pouch”.
A short time later another Echidna badly injured was found in Mullumbimby by Iris, this Echidna was also a mum with a tiny puggle.
These tiny bundles are very young, just 30 day ago they hatched from the egg, their eyes are not yet open, and their spines are yet to develop, their weights are just 150 and 170 gram.
For the next two months they will be kept in a humidicrib under 25 degrees being monitored 24 hours.
At three months old they will have short spines and can then be moved to a small enclosure in an air-conditioned environment of just under 25 degrees.
For the past month or so Echidna mums have been busy digging nursing burrows for their young. They carry their puggles in a “pouch” till the puggle start to develop spines. They are then left in a burrow dug deep into an embankment where the temperature does not go above 25 degrees even on the hottest of days.
These tiny puggles now in care with WIRES volunteer Leoni will be in care till late April 2018 when they will be released back to the wild. It is early days yet with a long road ahead for these tiny bundles and their carer.
Image by Leoni Byron-Jackson
This little Magpie chick was found on the ground squawking for food. Ian was out walking when he came across the hungry chick obviously fallen from a nest high above.
Ian took the chick to Lennox Head vet clinic where it was carefully examined and even though it had fallen from a great height it was unharmed.
For now it is in care with WIRES, but once its siblings leave the nest the family will be reunited.
High winds is resulting in a large number of chicks falling from their nests, should you come across a chick or any native animal in trouble please give us a call on 66281898 as soon as possible.
Image by Julie Marsh
Snakes are currently looking for love, sometimes in all the wrong places according to how we may wish to look at the situation.
WIRES was today called by a lady asking if we could help relocate some pythons from her house, they were on the floor and although the lady was quite comfortable with them being around her house she was concerned that one seemed injured.
It is not unusual to find two pythons together at this time of the year, however our volunteer snake handler Martin was rather surprised when he arrived to find not two but a ball of four Coastal carpet pythons and another watching the action close by.
All but one was safely relocated outside, sadly the injured one escaped into the roof.
We will try to catch the injured Python if it reappears.
As Martin was about to leave the lady said "Oh! While you are here maybe you could remove the Brown tree snake that lives in the cupboard "......however the BTS wasn't home today.
By Martin Fitzgerald
Swooping Magpie Season
Spring has sprung and the Magpies are swooping again.
Magpies generally only swoop for a few weeks each year when people enter the territory where they are nesting. The reason they are so protective is that their young are very vulnerable to predators, from hatchling to fledgling stage. While it can be very frightening, these magpies are usually just giving us a warning and generally only defend within 100 metres of their nest site.
Aggressive magpies, on the other hand, are usually as a result of someone previously harassing them, their nests or their chicks. So never harass, hit or provoke nesting birds. Do not throw anything at a bird or nest, and never climb a tree to remove eggs or chicks. A harassed bird will distrust you and as they have a great memory they will target you in future.
The best thing to do for these few weeks a year, in both of the above instances, is to simply avoid areas where magpies are known to be nesting. If possible use the other side of the road or garden while Maggie is breeding, and enjoy watching the young as they learn from their devoted parents.
For the rest of the year outside of the breeding season magpies are friendly visitors to your garden and invaluable pest managers, eating a wide variety of insect pests.
If more assistance is required please call WIRES.
Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or enquiries. The 24-hour hotline is for all calls to WIRES in the Northern Rivers - 6628 1898
By Sharon McGrigor
Due to the very dry conditions in the Northern Rivers area our native animals could do with some help finding a drink of water.
You can help by putting out fresh water daily. If you have a bird bath please fill it with fresh water daily. Ice cream containers, placed on the ground around boundaries of the property and filled with water will also help, but be sure to put in a stick or large rock to allow small creatures an avenue of escape should they fall in.
Image by Sharon McGrigor
Snakes may venture closer to our homes in search of water. If a water source is available away from your house they are less likely to venture closer seeking a dripping tap.
Images by Niall Stanton
In NSW there are close to 1000 animal and plant species at risk of extinction. One of the most biologically diverse regions of NSW is the Northern Rivers. It is home to many of the state’s rare and threatened plants and animals, with some 370 species under threat of extinction. These Threatened populations have been declining at such a rate their species are now at risk of disappearing forever.
This presents us all with a considerable challenge, and WIRES would like to inspire the community to help save our at-risk Threatened species that we often take for granted. Most Threatened species can be conserved for future generations if we all work together.
Threatened Species Day is a reminder that native animals need our dedicated and ongoing support. The active role WIRES play, rescuing and caring for Threatened species such as this Superb Fruit-Dove is imperative and it is community support that makes it possible. You can help by; planting a wildlife friendly garden, restrain roaming cats & dogs, or putting up a nestbox.
You can help WIRES by making a donation, becoming a volunteer or reporting sightings of threatened species to the WIRES Hotline. More information on Threatened species can be found here.
WIRES Northern Rivers would like to thanks members of the public for their support. Together we are raising awareness about wildlife and our unique Threatened species.
Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or enquiries. The 24-hour hotline is for all calls to WIRES in the Northern Rivers - 6628 1898
By Sharon McGrigor
A late night stroll turned out to be rather nasty for this Echidna as it was hit by a car on Bangalow Road. Lucky for this animal the motorist stopped and called WIRES for help.
The Echidna was x-rayed at Ballina vet hospital; no breaks were found however a severe concussion and some damage to one of the animals nails meant the Echidna would stay in WIRES care for a while.
A few days later the nail seemed to be causing the Echidna some problems and it was taken to Alstonville vet for examination. The nail would need to be removed but due to the concussion an anaesthetic was out of the question, so painkillers were prescribed.
A week later the Echidna was brought back to Alstonville vet to have the nail removed under anaesthetic. The minor operation went well and after 3 weeks in care the Echidna was released back near the spot but in a safer location to where it had originally encountered the car.
Echidnas are very active currently, should you find one injured please call WIRES for advice. Female Echidnas may be carrying a tiny puggle ( baby echidna )please check surrounding area for what may look like a golf ball.
Images by Leoni Byron-Jackson
A little noisy minor was seen by Daniel from Mullumbimby last Saturday taking off from a branch. Although trying to fly it simply fluttered down to the ground. The parent birds were around encouraging the little bird, but it was no good, it could not get above ground level.
Daniel called WIRES for advice.
As night was drawing in Daniel was asked to collect the little bird and keep it in a warm, dark and quiet spot overnight securely within a ventilated box.
A WIRES volunteer collected the little bird the following morning. It was offered a drink before the return trip back home.
The basket containing the little bird was placed on a bench near the spot where Daniel the day before had encountered the family.
The basket was barely opened before the parents flew down to say hello and deliver him a late breakfast.
He was placed back up in the tree by the WIRES volunteer, where he continued to be fed by his parents.
Many young birds including Noisy miners are currently testing their flight wings. Some will flutter to the ground, but are unable to get back into the tree. If you see a little one, please call WIRES directly as it may be possible to get it back with the parents in a short space of time.
By Barbara Wilkins
Three Long-nosed Bandicoot joeys came into care on Friday. The two males Hoey and Moey and their sister Cloey are all doing well in care. Sadly mum bandicoot had to leave them behind when she was chased by a dog.
They were brought to Alstonville vet clinic and after examination WIRES was contacted for care till they are ready to be released back to the wild.
There are 2 species of bandicoots in the Northern Rivers area, the Northern Brown and the Long Nosed Bandicoot.
The Long Nosed is smaller than the Northern Brown, and like its name suggests it has a very long nose. The hind limbs of both species resemble that of macropod's, the thigh is powerful, foot elongate and the second and third toe is joined. The hind limbs can be used for leaping, but the usual fast movement is like a gallop.
Bandicoots dig cone shaped holes in the ground looking for worms, insects and roots. We often hear complaints about the holes dug in the garden by these interesting creatures, but if you consider that they are getting rid of many pests that can damage your lawn; maybe we should be thankful for their assistance.
They have a home range of 1-6 hectares; however, they tend to roam over a comparatively small area, often staying within half a hectare of their nests and can live for up to 3 years.
Main predators are dogs, cats, foxes, python snakes and the ferocious motor vehicle.
Should you see a dead bandicoot on the road, please stop and check (if safe to do so) females may have live young in her backward opening pouch, if this is the case please call WIRES for assistance.
Images by Jeanette Dundas
On a recent Friday evening, unusual noises in her garden prompted a resident to investigate.
She found seven little ducklings huddled together against the chill, but there were no parents in sight. She called WIRES.
The WIRES volunteer gathered the little ones into the warm basket she had prepared for the rescue. A fairly thorough search was made of the area but no parent ducks could be found. So neighbours were informed and everyone would be on the lookout the next day, hoping to locate the parents. WIRES was on standby to try to reunite the family if possible.
Sadly, no parents every appeared. Once in care, the ducklings were placed in a warm enclosure with an appropriate soft toy. The ducklings can snuggle under this substitute for the mother duck's wings. Ducklings need to feel secure or they can die from stress as they frantically search for their mum.
These ducklings will be raised in WIRES care. When they are old enough to survive outside without a heat source they will be transferred to a WIRES volunteer bird carer who has access to a dam.
They will be ready for release after approximately 8 weeks when their flight feathers should be fully developed.
Images by Julie Marsh
Back in February this Python was rescued following a call out to a macadamia farm at Rosebank, reporting a Python in the laundry.
When WIRES volunteer snake handler Martin arrived to relocate the Python he realised that the animal had some serious injuries.
The Python had evidently been run over by the lawn mower / slasher, sometime prior. He had four deep gashes about 30 cm apart down his body.
He was taken to the fabulous crew at Vitality Vet Care in Bangalow where his wounds were treated.
As the wounds were not recent they took extended time to heal, and as winter approached it became clear that he would have to stay in care until the coldest of the weather had passed.
Recent warm weather finally allowed for this beautiful animal to go home and on 15 August he was finally released.
He came into care weighing 1500g and was released back to his home turf weighing 2050g; well set to cope back in the wild.
Image by Martin Fitzgerald
Rosella chicks move up the property ladder
Last week, Jacqueline from Myocum called the WIRES Hotline, concerned for some Eastern rosella chicks which were heard at the bottom of a communications pipe on the boundary of a public walkway. There was no cover; no nearby trees, rain would most certainly see the pipe filling with water when it rained, and the parent birds could not be seen.
After seeking advice from WIRES, Jacqueline ( with some difficulty involved) retrieved 5 little fluffy chicks from the pipe and they were taken into care by a local WIRES volunteer while alternative housing was arranged.
As rosellas will find any hollow they can to raise their young, including hollow fence posts, it was decided to place a more secure and weather proof home for them close to the original pipe.
The new nesting box, purchased from the Bangalow Men's Shed, was secured to the fence along with a sign advising walkers of their presence.
Early the next morning, the chicks were taken to their new home, and the carer watched and waited... and watched and waited ....
Rosella chicks make quite a racket, the parent birds flew over the spot several times. Rosellas are shy and cautious, so they carefully approached the area. After checking for the chicks in the original pipe they soon located the chicks in the new box, and quickly flew off to find breakfast for the hungry little ones.
Later that afternoon, the nest box was checked by the carer, and all 5 chicks were safely inside with full crops, showing the parents had been attending them during the day. Checks of the area from a distance will continue to ensure the parents are feeding the little ones until they are able to leave the box.
Many thanks to Jacqueline and her neighbours for their keen interest in the welfare of these beautiful birds.
By Barbara Wilkins
One of our snake handlers was called to manage a large Eastern Brown, basking at the foot of the stairs leading to the caller's home. The snake was very chilled and just needed some encouragement to move on.
Snake calls are increasing. Spring is when they are more defensive and territorial.
Snakes learn to stay out of our way. They know the food, water and shelter in their territory and learn the daily movements of resident humans.
Conflict generally occurs because the snake cannot make a quick exit. Never try to catch or kill a snake. Snakes are not normally aggressive; however, they will defend themselves if threatened and this is when most snakebites occur.
Snakes, protected by law, play an important role in the environment. Do not relocate a snake far away from your home: a stranger snake that does not know you may move into your territory.
Discourage snakes: keep lawn neat, dispose of excessive leaf litter and garden waste. Move building materials, woodpiles or compost away from house. Snake-proof aviaries, pet enclosures and chicken pens with 1cm square mesh wire. Use secure insect screens on windows and doors. Close gaps at ground level with weather strips. Train family members to keep screen doors closed. Keep garage doors closed.
Contact WIRES any time if you are concerned about a snake: advice available over the phone.
Image by Maron Nel
A family of Crested pigeons took advantage of free food in the chicken coop at a Byron Bay factory. Sadly, one of the young pigeons was caught in the wire and lost all his tail feathers and some flight feathers.
Unable to fly off, he was caught and put in a box. Rebecca called WIRES and the young bird, who was promptly named Manx was brought into care.
Picture below one week after arrival, his feathers are starting to grow back.
He became stronger and was able to fly around the aviary. Finally after 5 weeks in care the big day came and Manx was taken back home.
A family of Crested pigeons were spotted in a large tree, the rescue basket with Manx was placed on the ground nearby and opened. The big question now, was it Manx's family ?
Manx stood on the edge of the rescue basket, taking in the surroundings listening to the sounds of the nearby birds for a short time, and then he flew to the nearby tree where his family welcomed him home.
Rebecca and WIRES volunteer Barb exchanged high fives - a beautiful sight to see this young bird reunited with his family.
By Barbara Wilkins
Being a WIRES member is never dull, it can be heart breaking when an animal is severely injured, but the next call for help can as in this case be to help a native animal out of a situation that could easily have ended in disaster if gone unnoticed.
This Echidna had somehow managed to fall into an empty in ground tank. The property owner called WIRES as soon as the animal was discovered. Advice was given to put in a shallow dish of water for the animal. The Echidna soon discovered the dish, got right into the water to cool down and have a much needed drink.
When WIRES volunteer Nigel arrived the Echidna was lively and alert, Nigel fully trained in how to handle the prickly customer, expertly picked it up and once out of the tank released it in the shade under a tree in the back yard where the property owner and family could see it from a distance and make sure it headed in the right direction away from the tank. Echidnas are known to have an excellent memory; as such it is unlikely it will return to that particular spot any time soon.
We recommend calling the local WIRES hotline on 66281898 if you ever need help or advice on rescuing a native animal
If you would like to join WIRES and learn about our native wildlife such as this Echidna (did you know that Echidnas can live in excess of 50 years?) please give us a call on 66281898 or send us an email email@example.com
Images supplied by Nigel Prem
After a call to pick up a young green bird with golden-tipped wings, WIRES identified a Rose-crowned Fruit Dove.
The Rose-crowned Fruit Dove is listed as vulnerable in NSW due to habitat loss from the clearing of rainforest and the removal of Camphor Laurel trees. The Camphor Laurel is an introduced tree that has become a vital food source when alternative native fruit trees are not available.
The dove usually lays a single egg in a frail nest woven from twigs and vines. These birds do not leave the nest before they can fly, so if they are found sitting on the ground and can be easily caught then they have to come in to care. They require specialised feeding, as they do not gape but feed straight from the parent's crop.
It was decided to leave the bird overnight in the care of the member of the public so that an attempt to reunite the dove with its family could be made the next morning. No feeding was required, just clean water.
The following morning, she was able to release the bird where it was found. It was apparently capable of flight after all.
Sometimes, conditions are right for a member of the public to be involved in some care or the reuniting or release of wildlife. If you are lucky enough to experience this, it is very satisfying.
Image by Sharon McGrigor
WIRES was called to rescue a Flying fox caught on a barbed wire fence at Keerong today. As it turned out it was hanging on a fence above water in a dam too deep for our rescuer to stand in. Another WIRES volunteer was called to assist as he has a kayak, which would be the only way to reach this unfortunate animal.
WIRES volunteer Don arrived soon after with the kayak and Don was able to rescue the young male black Flying fox which had sustained severe injuries to both wings.
Each year hundreds of native animals become entangled in or ‘hung’ up on barbed wire. The suffering endured by these animals is unimaginable. Near or above water is particularly dangerous for animals such as Flying Foxes, as they are unable to see the wire as they approach flying low in order to skim the waterline to have a drink of water.
What can you do to prevent this occurrence? If you already have barbed wire fences, the top strand of barbed wire could be replaced with ordinary wire, this would help stop gliders, bats and birds being caught. An alternate method to stop flying animals being caught is to use old garden hose slit down its length, then slid over the top strand of the barbed wire. Strips of cloth or any shiny material, tied at intervals along the middle strand of fencing wire, is another way to help prevent injury by alerting animals that the wire is there.
The best method of all is simply to get rid of the barbed wire completely. If erecting a new fence please consider the alternatives to barbed wire.
The unfortunate Flying fox is seen here after being rescued, it will be in care for extended time as its wings slowly heal.
Should you find animal on barbed wire, please call WIRES immediately, do not try to free the animal yourself.
If possible provide shade whilst waiting for a rescuer to arrive.
Images by Marion Nel
Mum colliding with a car in East Lismore saw this little Red-Necked wallaby joey orphaned yesterday. He is now in care with WIRES after his severely injured mum was humanely euthanased at Lismore Vet surgery.
At just 4.5 months old Jasper as he has been named, has no fur yet, so he is kept warm and snug in a humidicrib and fed special wallaby formula every 4 hours around the clock. Once his fur has grown he will be introduced to other joeys and they will be transferred to an outside enclosure where their human contact will be limited. Eventually in 10 months’ time Jasper and his future friends will be released back to the wild.
Please slow down on our roads, should you come across an injured animal please call WIRES straight away for advice, joeys such as Jasper has a good chance of long term survival with proper specialised care.
If you would like to join WIRES and learn about our native wildlife such as Jasper please give us a call on 66281898 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image by Jeanette Dundas
During cold weather, wildlife may enter your house. Roof spaces and chimneys are popular but they will find any sheltered spot if there is access.
The best action to take is prevention. Install wire mesh on your chimney and to block off other entry points to keep animals out. Be sure to thoroughly check first so that you are not inadvertently trapping a creature inside.
You will hear possums leaving at dusk to go out for food and then again when they return at dawn. Illuminate the space continuously for up to three days with a portable light and possums will go elsewhere to sleep. Once you are certain they have left, block off any entry points to prevent them coming in again.
If noises can be heard in the ceiling space throughout the day and night, it is likely that rodents, not possums, are the problem.
Habitat loss is a primary cause of animals seeking shelter in our homes. You can easily provide an alternative home for animals by making or purchasing a wildlife box. Place the new home close by in a suitable tree.
Remember they will need good shade, as a box heats up quickly in the sun. The box will need to be at least three metres from the ground to ensure predators cannot reach it.
WIRES is happy to provide designs and assistance
Image by Sharon McGrigor
This Kookaburra was a bit too slow to move out of the way of an oncoming car. Fortunately the driver stopped and took the unfortunate bird to Goonellabah vet where he was examined and found to have a mild concussion.
WIRES collected the Kookaburra and after he was rehydrated he was placed in a hospital cage where he spent the night.
The following morning he was bright and alert, time to give him a test flight in a large aviary. He passed the test beautifully and was released back to where he the day previously had his unfortunate accident.
The Laughing Kookaburra lives in family groups that consist of a dominant breeding pair that mate for life and offspring who become helpers. This kookaburra is a young male so would be a helper protecting the territory and helping feed next seasons offspring.
By Julie Marsh
Yesterday we received a call that an Echidna had wandered into the kitchen and was stuck between a step and a cupboard. It is cold outside so who would blame this Echidna for seeking a nice and comfortable spot.
Echidnas are quiet and unassuming, but they are also amazingly strong and almost impossible to move if they have any kind of foothold or should we say spine hold.
Each individual spine on the Echidna has a muscle attached to the base of each spine, giving the animal control over the movement and direction of its spines, enabling it to anchor itself firmly onto just about any surface by using the erect spines.
A WIRES volunteer responded to the call but was unable to move the Echidna from its “ hiding” space, it was firmly wedged and in no mood to move. A towel was placed in front of the Echidna in the hope that the animal would move back out of the tight space rather than further in.
The family was going out in the evening and would leave the door open which would hopefully encourage the Echidna to leave the house whilst everything was quiet.
The result was kind of as expected but with a bit of a twist. The Echidna did leave the tight spot and did not move further in, but it did not leave the house. It found a much better place for a rest.
It was discovered under a cushion on the lounge.
Anthony with the help of his wife carried the lounge outside and tipped it upside down, the Echidna let go and left to find another hopefully more appropriate spot to rest.
Thank you Anthony for your patience and calling WIRES for advice.
Images by Anthony
Three weeks ago you read about a Tawny Frogmouth who apparently took up residence in a warehouse. After an extended period inside, he was in poor shape and is still in care.
Another warehouse has attracted a Southern Boobook Owl. For four nights, the security alarm was triggered, a mystery until the owl was startled by the security check and revealed himself.
The owl was roosting at the very top of the building. Various attempts to reach and capture him failed. Eventually, an open trap with irresistible food inside was set on a palette and placed high on shelving.
The WIRES rescuer left instructions to contact her regardless of the time of night if the owl was caught. She wanted to minimise the animal's stress and the possibility of self-injury once it found itself trapped.
The call came at 1.20 am. She drove out immediately to collect him. He had only a small eye injury but was a little underweight from being trapped for so long.
The Southern Boobook is also known as the mopoke. It is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. Its distinctive 'boo-book' call can be heard in the forests and woodlands of its normal habitat.
After a week in care -- well fed and vigorous once again -- he was successfully released. A very different outcome this time.
Image by Melanie Barsony
Council workers were clearing some trees when one of them noticed two adult lorikeets leaving a hollow in a hurry. And in the pauses between the drone of the chainsaws, she thought she heard other sounds.
The crew halted their cutting to investigate. A Rainbow Lorikeet chick, too young to fly, was still nestled in the hollow. They wrapped him in a warm cloth and rang WIRES.
Now in care, he is growing well. Feathers are beginning to open and soon he will be showing the lovely... colours we all recognise in this species. As he matures, he will go through various stages of training until he is ready to be released back into the wild.
Wild lorikeets eat mainly pollen but also nectar, insects and small invertebrates found in foliage. If you wish to attract them to your garden, plant a variety of flowering native plants to create natural food sources for them.
Artificial feeding is a bad idea. Food provided by humans is not healthy for lorikeets and feeding trays or containers spread disease-causing bacteria. Group feeding also enables birds to easily pass on a deadly virus.
Creating a healthy environment for lorikeets provides fresh food without artificial dangers. It is also less work for you. Enjoy watching these delightful birds without the hassle of preparing food for them.
Image by Melanie Barsony
UPDATE 27 June
The pigeons were soft released four days ago. Soft release means the bird is released and food is made available giving the young birds time to locate where to find food in the wild. As these pigeons were orphaned they do not have parent birds to show them the way, making food readily available allow the young birds to feed and remain healthy whilst they make their way to life in the wild.
Three of the four pigeons are seen here taking advantage of provided food this morning.
A number of White-headed Pigeon chicks are currently in care. Attempts are usually made to reunite chicks with the parent birds if the chicks are not injured. Sadly that was not possible in these cases.
One chick had fallen from its nest and was attacked by other birds. It had a wound near its eye that needed to be stitched.
Another had also fallen from its nest and was attacked by a small dog. It had wounds on its body and required 30 stitches, Thank you to Vetlove Goonellabah for your time attending this little one requiring three vet visits.
Both were cared for in hospital cages while their wounds healed and then transferred to a large aviary with two others that could not be reunited, one older and another younger.
The buddy system is so vital when raising birds of the same species. Pigeon chicks in particular are easily humanised due to handling when feeding. If they are raised with their own kind the chance of this happening is minimised. It is also a benefit to have an older chick that is self-feeding in the group, this teaches the younger ones to self-feed.
Once the pigeons start to self-feed, branches of native fruit and berries are added to the aviary. When the pigeons can pick fruit and eat from the branches it is time to soft release. They are released from the aviary and offered support food.
It is also vital to have local White-headed Pigeons at the release location allowing them to integrate into the group and you are assured there is a supply of their natural fruits and berries in the area.
These 4 White-headed Pigeons are progressing well; all are starting to self-feed so they are well on the way to a successful release.
White-headed Pigeons inhabit rainforests and farmland with remaining rainforest trees. They feed on fruits; figs, camphor laurel and privet berries.
Images by Julie Marsh
A service station in Casino resolved the issue of swallows nesting and pooping on cars by erecting a ‘ceiling’ made of wire mesh. This has proved to be a great idea and will provide a permanent solution to the problem.
Unfortunately, a recently fledged Welcome Swallow chick inadvertently became trapped within the ceiling space. Luckily the parent birds were still feeding the chick through the wire, but there was no way for it to get out.
WIRES was called but due to the height our volunteers were unable to reach.
After many phone calls to follow up various options to no avail, Casino Fire Station was called.
They were amazing!! It did not take long for Dave and the crew to arrive with the fire truck, and by parking under the roof and standing on the truck, they were able to reach the wire mesh.
They worked to undo a section of the wire mesh and we all stood back to wait and see if the young swallow could find the new exit.
The little bird was quite stressed and flew back and forth. It was decided to leave the area and let the bird rest; it may work out the escape route with less stress and onlookers.
It took many hours before the young bird finally worked out how to escape, but it did finally fly out and joined its parents and siblings. Dave and crew then returned to repair the roof.
WIRES would like to extend a huge thank you to Casino fire crew for this life saving rescue and thank you to the service station for calling WIRES when the unfortunate fledgling was seen to be in trouble.
Images by Melanie Barsony
An engineering warehouse in South Lismore called WIRES when they found a Tawny frogmouth on the ground, unable to fly. He had been spotted regularly over time and was believed to be a resident in their workplace.
Because they are nocturnal, Tawny Frogmouths are commonly mistaken for owls but they actually belong to the nightjar family. They feed mostly on large insects and moths which they catch with their wide mouths. During the day, they perch on tree branches, well camouflaged due to their pale grey and mottled feathers.
The rescuer first noted the unusually dark colouring for this species. An assessment found him malnourished and considerably underweight. The colour wasn't natural but caused by fine layers of sooty dust, built up over time.
His carer took on the huge task of bathing and rehydrating the frogmouth. He was unable to take solid food, so also required frequent liquid feedings.
Cleared of his sooty coating, and feeling a bit stronger after a few days in care, the Tawny began to groom himself -- an excellent sign.
He is now back on regular food and has a good chance of regaining a healthy weight.
Already strong enough for transfer to a large aviary, he will remain in care for quite some time until he is able to fend for himself again in the wild.
Image by Marion Nel
Tripper is the name of this little Red-Necked wallaby joey just 5 months old. She came into care after being found alive in her dead mums pouch by a WIRES carer almost home from a long road trip. Having driven from Southern NSW she spotted Trippers mum lying dead in the middle of the road just outside of Casino.
Tripper was frightened and had a few scratches on her body but otherwise unharmed, her mum had not been dead for long. In this cold weather it would not take long for a little joey with only very fine fur covering her body to go cold.
Mums body was dragged off to the side of the road, away from the traffic, she would most likely become much needed food for a Wedge tailed eagle as daylight broke the following morning.
She is doing well in care, for now she is resting in her substitute pouch, growing stronger each day.
She will join another little Red-Necked joey already in care same stage as development. Her mum ran into the path of a car, she was slightly injured, her joey flew out of the pouch on impact, mum kept going and was never found. Her joey however was picked up by the motorist and WIRES was called straight away.
As the days get shorter, the weather colder, please look out for animals near or close to the road, should you come across a dead marsupial please drag the body off the road, check for a joey and call WIRES for advice.
Marsupial joeys require special formula, they have special needs, please call WIRES straight away
Images by Jeanette Dundas & Kay Bromwich
The road to recovery has been long for this little Red-Necked Pademelon. She came into care after her mum was killed by a car; the joey survived but had sustained a broken leg.
She was taken to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital where it was decided after x-rays that she had a good chance of a normal life if her leg was operated on. It was a delicate operation, but all went well.
Jazzy as she was named by her rescuer was collected by WIRES and for the next 3-4 weeks she had to be kept in a pouch as her injured leg would not be able to bear her weight as it healed. She also needed regular check-ups and x-rays to ensure her leg was healing properly, enabling her to be 100% fit and able to move at optimum speed. The wild is no place for an animal such as this in anything less than 100% condition.
Jazzy visited Lismore Central Vet surgery once every 5 days for the next 3 weeks, each visit went well, x-rays showed her leg was healing perfectly, and Jazzy accepted that for now she was unable to hop around with the other joeys in care. She would watch from the safety of her pouch enjoying room service from her WIRES carer.
As Jazzy was so young she was growing quickly whilst healing, her bandage was changed regularly to allow for her growth. After 3 1/2 weeks she was able to weight bear on her injured leg, it was time for her to be transferred to the facility from where she would eventually be released.
Here she joined another three Pademelon orphans already in care. Her joy at being able to once again hop around munching on grass and foliage, interact with others of her own kind was pure magic to watch.
Her final check-up was done at Lismore Vet clinic 7 weeks after her operation where she was finally given the all clear.
She will stay in care for another 6-7 weeks before she and her 3 fellow Pademelon orphans will be released back to the wild.
Sleepy after playing with her best mate, another orphaned Pademelon joey
Images by Renata Phelps & Sue Ulyatt
A 2.5-metre carpet python swallowed a sizeable dinner and then went looking for a safe place to snooze while digesting his meal.
Radio Rentals, recently relocated to Goonellabah from their former Lismore CBD location, had just the right thing -- an IT cabinet, comfortably warm and dry. Their new location in the industrial area is a bit more accessible to wildlife than their former space.
On duty at the shop that day, Dale was shocked to discover her reptilian visitor when she checked the computer equipment. She rang WIRES for help.
A WIRES snake handler arrived with the usual tools but in this tricky situation, they were of no use. Understandably, the business could not switch off their computer network connection. So the rescuer had to rescue the python using only her hands.
She worked for 20 minutes, slowly extricating the reluctant snake from the wires and router boxes. Once the rescuer had the head securely in her hand, Dale assisted by disentangling the remaining wires from the tail.
The rescuer said she was lucky the python was more docile than usual, probably due to the cold weather and the fact that the snake had eaten a large meal.
She released the snake immediately, next to a nearby creek. The python quickly slithered into the stream, swam across and settled on a sunny rock on the other side.
Images by Marion Nel
WIRES Northern Rivers has rescued two Tawny Frogmouths per day since the 1st of May, and every single one of them was hit by a car.
Tawnies are mainly nocturnal hunters but may still be active in pre-dawn conditions. They catch much of their prey in flight and are likely swooping after insects illuminated in headlamp beams.
About 6 or 7am at this time of year, more birds than average are on the roads. Morning traffic lights are attracting clouds of insects and the birds are out for the feast. If you are on the road at that time, please be especially alert for birdlife.
Roads with very little street lighting and reasonably dense bushland on either side are also hot spots for incidents between vehicles and other animals.
Each year, hundreds of animals come into WIRES care as a result of motor vehicle incidents in the Northern Rivers. Try to spot wildlife before it's too late. If you do have a collision with an animal, it is important to report it to WIRES as soon as possible. For those that may have a joey in the pouch, early rescue is critical.
If it is difficult or unsafe for you to stop, give as much detail of the location as you can to the WIRES hotline so the rescuer can easily locate the animal. Put the 24-hour hotline number in your phone.
The next WIRES training course is coming up later this month. Contact the 24-hour hotline now to reserve your place - 6628 1898.
Image by Sharon McGrigor
A young Laughing Kookaburra fell from his tree hollow, built high in the top of a tall palm tree.
The hollow was too high for anyone to be able to reunite him with his family. And the young bird was too small to survive on his own and away from the hollow. WIRES took him into care.
Fortunately, his only injury was a broken toe. He was housed in a makeshift hollow within an aviary, along with other juvenile kookaburras. Feisty and agitated at the beginning, he eventually settled into aviary life with his peers while his toe healed.
Eight weeks after the rescue, he was 'soft released' near the site of his rescue. The 'soft' means a carer continues to provide support food for a limited period until the bird is fully independent. This little guy will develop his hunting and survival skills in the wild but can return if necessary to avoid going hungry.
The Laughing Kookaburra is the world's largest kingfisher, living in forests, open woodlands, or on the edges of plains. It requires a large variety of food all year round. Kookaburras catch a wide variety of prey, including fish, small snakes, lizards, rodents, worms, beetles and other insects.
Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or enquiries. If you would like to join us now is the time. We have a workshop coming up on 28th of May in Lismore. Give us a call - 6628 1898.
Images by Marion Nel and Julie Marsh
Releasing an animal that has been in care is a very special moment.
You may remember the Clarence River Turtle from April 1st that came into care after being hit by a car at Alstonville. He was examined by Alstonville vet and consequently sent to Currumbin wildlife hospital for further treatment.
His injuries healed well and he was given the all clear for release late last week.
He was released in a creek near where he was found on Saturday afternoon, in what can only be described as the finest of turtle habitat - the creek bank is abundant with platypus burrows, and evidence of fresh water crayfish.
Image by Josef Kohlmetz
This beautiful juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle was in serious trouble after she was clipped by a vehicle a few kilometres west of Mummulgum. Fortunately she was rescued by Nathan, who stopped when he saw her lying semi conscious on the road. He covered her in a blanket and put her in his car.
Nathan called WIRES and she was rushed to the Casino Vet Clinic where x-rays and other checks were done. Amazingly she suffered no serious injuries and just needed some rest and recuperation.
After a week in care she was flying and feeding well, showing she was well and truly ready for release. An adult eagle was sighted flying over Mummulgum and the young eagle was released shortly after from the high ridge of Cambridge Plateau.
She flew to a tall tree and took a while to take in her surroundings before soaring and circling high above the ridge.
Images by Melanie Barsony and Julie Marsh
It seems that the flood has sparked special notice of our local Blue-tongue population.
Residents in South Lismore whose own home was devastated by the flood took time to notice the plight of a Blue-tongue Lizard who appeared to be living in a great pile of rubbish gathered after the flood. Worried he might be poisoned by toxic items or injured when the pile was collected, they managed to safely trap the lizard and rang WIRES for advice. The lucky lizard was taken for a holiday away and will be returned to his home ground when it is safe.
Of the 300 species of skinks native to Australia, the Blue-tongue Lizard is the largest of all. They can live as long as 30 years.
Blue-tongue Lizards are a great asset in the garden as they love eating snails, caterpillars and other pests. To encourage them, provide plenty of places to hide such as rocks, logs on the ground and low shrubby bushes. They may become quite accustomed to you and your family so you can enjoy watching them.
Threats to Blue-tongues are many. They do not run away when danger threatens but puff themselves up and stick out their tongues, not a good defence against a lawn mower. Be alert when mowing tall grass and avoid using toxic chemicals and snail pellets.
Image by Marion Nel
The wild weather and flooding have complicated many people's lives. Wildlife volunteers struggled to get to rescue sites and safely collect the animals in need.
In addition to typical calls, some events were directly related to the wet. A fresh water turtle was found exhausted on New Brighton's beach. In Billinudgel, a battered python was caught in a mudslide. A soaking wet tawny frogmouth could not fly away from its landing place on an East Lismore footpath. A microbat found shelter by hanging from a display in a Goonellabah retail shop. A Bangalow tree above flood waters sheltered a wiley python. A sea turtle washed up on the beach at Lennox Head. A family of swallows took up residence in an underground car park in Byron Bay.
And in Lismore, a member of the public rescued three baby blue-tongue lizards, washed them clean of mud and petrol and then rang WIRES for advice. She kept them overnight and released them on clear ground the next morning.
A seagull and a pelican, in two separate incidents, were also indisposed by the flood. Both were referred to Australian Seabird Rescue.
Calls about various water-logged koalas were handed over to Friends of the Koala.
WIRES would like to thank the members of the public who were able to alert us to and assist with wildlife in trouble at this time.
Coping with extreme weather results in stress and shock for wildlife and birds are often the most impacted by becoming water logged, unable to fly or seabirds can be blown off course.
If you find a bird in this state, you can pick them up by gently wrapping them in a small towel or soft cloth with no loose threads, where it is safe to do so. Then, take them inside and place in a ventilated box large enough for the bird to stand, place a soft cloth on the bottom of the box and let the bird warm up and dry out in peace and quiet.
Please do not feed the bird. If you feel it needs food please call WIRES for advice first. Once the bird has dried out, it can be taken back outside for release.
To do this, open the box slowly and move back. The bird should fly away. If this does not happen please call WIRES for further advice.
After floods you may also see freshwater turtles or other reptiles in unusual places. If a turtle’s shell is cracked or there is sign of injury please pick the turtle up gently, not by its shell, put it in a box with a towel underneath and call us for further advice. If it is not injured you can re-locate it near the closest safe freshwater source.
Small possums and gliders may also be found under trees after severe storms – we suggest that you check the hollows of any fallen trees if it is safe to do so.
Finally, please be vigilant on the road and keep an eye out for wildlife. Take care and stay safe.
Please call WIRES on 66281898 for advice and assistance.
Image by Sue Ulyatt
A member of the Public found this this little guy on the side of the road yesterday afternoon at Russelton Industrial Estate between Alstonville and Wollongbar.
The Clarence River Turtle had most likely been fleeing rising water levels and currents and sadly been hit by a car. The driver probably never saw the unfortunate animal considering the heavy rain we have experienced.
Obviously injured it was brought to Alstonville vet surgery where it was given emergency treatment. The turtle has some serious injuries and will be transported to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital by its WIRES carer as soon as the roads are clear.
Please be vigilant on our roads, many native animals are displaced by the extreme weather, some may be injured others are exhausted and disorientated.
Thank you Pip for stopping and helping this unfortunate turtle, also thank you Alstonville Vet surgery for treating the animal and recommendation for further treatment to Currumbin.
Image by Josef Kohlmetz
The wild weather currently impacting us all in the Northern Rivers is also severely impacting our native wildlife.
This Coastal Carpet Python was rescued earlier today in Lismore. It was called into our emergency hotline after being discovered fast asleep up high on shelving after a tasty meal. Unbeknown to the snake the water was rising all around him.
WIRES snake handler said: It was a tricky rescue due to the snake being in a confined space. I've put him on heat in order f...or him to digest his meal; he’s having a good sleep and will stay in care until the weather clears.
All ground dwelling creatures will be looking for dry ground at the moment. Please call WIRES for help should you feel threatened by a snake or come across any other native critter that may be in an unusual place or in trouble, it is just seeking shelter and safety.
WIRES is only a phone call away, please call 66281898 for help and advice.
Stay safe out there and remember: If it is flooded forget it!.
Image by Marion Nel
"Someone's been sleeping in my bed"
A Lismore resident spent the night sleeping on the couch after finding a fairly large Python asleep in her bed last night.
WIRES snake handler Marion said, after relocation the snake:
“The python was a very easy catch, was curled up fast asleep against MOP's headboard. Mop slept on the couch.
I could tell the snake was very unhappy with the wet ground when I released him as he quickly found a suitable tree and twirled his way up, rested his head on a thin branch and went back to sleep”
Images by Marion Nel
These little Long-nosed Bandicoot joeys are currently in care with WIRES thanks to Chinta from Mullumbimby.
A dead bandicoot in the middle of the road is sadly not an uncommon sight in the country. If it is a female chances are very high that live joeys are within her backward opening pouch as in this case, 3 little joeys were very much alive.
They came into care on 2 March at just 45 days old and were fed special Bandicoot formula, now just 17 days later they are learning to forage for their food whilst still relying on their formula.
Soon they will move to an outside enclosure where they will spend their remaining time in care. They will become secretive as they start to mature, and once 3.5 months old the door to the enclosure will be opened and they will slowly disperse back to the wild.
Thank you Chinta for stopping, checking the pouch and calling WIRES.
Images by Barbara Wilkins & Renata Phelps
Recently WIRES reported a failed effort to capture a Black swan who was observed with fishing line and lure caught near her beak.
Over a period of two weeks, the swan evaded multiple efforts by the land owner, WIRES and a Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers volunteer.
A member of Wild Bird Rescues on the Gold Coast managed to catch the swan on 9 March.
Wild Bird Rescues said 'the bird was not an easy catch. Only the most experienced catchers would have any hope of securing that bird. Even then, it was touch and go. Took 3 hours. In the end I snared her.'
The bird had hooks and lure buried in her neck and chin. Lennox Head Vet Clinic removed the hooks and found no infection.
After the Black swan spent some time at Australian Seabird Rescue for rehabilitation, WIRES collected her in preparation for release. A great location was found at a waterway where about 70 Black swans were feeding.
This rescue was a combined effort between Jessica the first landowner that alerted us to the swan being in the area, Tania the land owner where the swan was eventually captured, WIRES NR, Mary from TVWC, Wild Bird Rescue Gold Coast, Lennox Head Vet and Seabird Rescue.
Please remember to clean up/take with you any fishing line, rubbish , plastic etc with you and don't leave any potential death threats for our native wildlife.
Images by Rowley Goonan, Tania and Melanie Barsony
These two Pademelon joeys are currently in care recovering form car accidents where their mums were killed.
The first one came into care 3 weeks ago and has been named Jazzy; she is a Red-Necked pademelon.
Jazzy was examined at Mullumbimby vet clinic where x-ray showed she had a broken leg and fractured ribs.
She was transferred to Currumbin wildlife hospital where after consultation it was decided that due to her being just 5 months old and nature of the fracture in her leg she had a good chance of a full recovery if her leg was operated on. Her ribs would heal without intervention.
After spending two days at Currumbin wildlife hospital recovering from her operation she was brought back into WIRES care.
Three weeks have since passed, she has weekly x-rays at Lismore Central vet surgery and so far her progress is great. Unable to weight bear on the leg she is happy to accept room service.
After getting the OK from the vet yesterday she has done some supported stands... she is very keen and has already started doing a little independent hopping!!
Two days ago another Pademelon came into care the same age as Jazzy. This one is a Red-Legged Pademelon. He has been named Cam.
Cam has no injuries but is frightened and stressed having lost his mum.
In a few weeks Jazzy and Cam will meet, they will spend the next 5 months together in care before being released back to the wild.
In the Northern Rivers we are fortunate to have two species of Pademelons. The Red-Legged pademelon is listed as vulnerable due to loss of habitat. They are found strictly in rainforest.
The Red-Necked Pademelon also loves our rainforest but can also be found in forests with dense understorey.
Yesterday another two Pademelons came into care; they will join Jazzy and Cam in time.
Please slow down on our roads especially at dusk and dawn when our wildlife is most active. Should you find an injured animal please stop, check the pouch if a female marsuipal and call WIRES on 66281898.
Images by Renata Phelps & Sue Ulyatt
This little puggle was found wondering down Bangalow Road at Clunes yesterday by a member of the public.
Being just a handful he was obviously much too young to be out in the world alone, he was brought to Lismore vet clinic where he was x-rayed and checked for injury.
Nothing seemed wrong with the little fellow physically, but he was very dehydrated and hungry indicating mum had for some reason not returned to the burrow to feed him, which is most likely why he felt the need to leave.
WIRES was contacted and he was taken into care, rehydrated and then fed special Echidna formula as he is still milk dependent. He will be released in May which is normal dispersal time for puggles.
At this time of the year Echidna puggles are about 5 months old and should still be safely in their burrows being fed by mum, not until May should we come across Echidna puggles wondering in unusual places as they leave the burrows in search of termites and bugs.
Should you come across a puggle before May please call WIRES on 66281898.
Image by Leoni Byron-Jackson
This 3.5 month old Ringtail possum joey was somehow separated from mum, weighing 75 gram she was at the stage of development where she would travel with mum and siblings as mum ventured out at night in search of food. She would be starting to venture out on mums back to watch and taste the native food, learning what to eat and where to find it whilst still being dependent on mum’s milk for at least another 2.5 months.
She was found in a garden alone; a well-meaning person put her in a rabbit cage with her pet rabbit for company. Fortunately she was discovered the following day by a WIRES member and brought into WIRES care.
Dehydrated hungry and stressed she was nursed back to health and once settled she was introduced to other orphaned Ringtail joeys. All will be released back to the wild as a family group once old enough to fend for themselves.
The Ringtail possum is known to most of us, commonly seen in back yards climbing trees at night looking for food such as eucalypt leaves, fresh new buds of native trees, flowers and native fruit. It is an agile climber, using its tail as a false hand it can climb even slender branches, it is also used for carrying nesting material.
The nest is usually in a hollow log lined with leaves, but as old trees are fast disappearing from our landscape, the ringtail may build a spherical nest called a drey, made from leaves and shredded bark. Strictly nocturnal, they are only active at night.
Sexual maturity is reached at 12 months of age, breeding takes place from March to November, the female has 4 teats, but normally only has 2-3 young. Joeys stay in the pouch until about 4 months old, and then mum carries them on her back, whilst she forages for food at night.
Should you find a native animal in trouble, please call WIRES for help. All of our native animals have special needs. Our native marsupials are different to pets such as rabbits, dogs and cats all of which are placental mammals. Marsupial orphans have a need for species specific unique milk formula in order to survive long term.
Image by Leoni Byron-Jackson
Swimming pools are fantastic on a hot day, the cool water enticing all creatures great and small.
Native animals see a swimming pool as a water source, not realising if they fall in there is no way out. Sadly many native animals do fall in when leaning down for a much needed drink, they swim round the edges looking for a way out, but after some time they run out of energy and drown.
This can easily be avoided by simply attaching a rope to something outside the pool; rope dangling into the pool and the animal is able to hang on till they are discovered, or in many cases climb out via the rope.
This juvenile Bandicoot was found in a swimming pool at Alstonville, rushed to Alstonville vet surgery where it was checked out and found to be in good health. It was exhausted and stressed, needing some time to recover and observed for possible water inhalation complications.
After 6 days in WIRES care it had fully recovered and was taken back to where it was found in order to join the rest of its family.
The owner of the swimming pool has now ensured native animals seeking a drink can safely get back out.
Please check your pool, does it have an avenue of escape for our native animals?
Image by Jeanette Dundas
The Pheasant coucal lives in areas of thick undergrowth spending most of its time on the ground eating a variety of insects, small frogs, lizards and snakes.
These birds build a large nest on the ground made up of leaves and twigs, a woven canopy of grass is pulled over the nest, leaving two openings, head protruding from one and tail from the other. As the nestlings grow new leafy twigs are added.
These two Pheasant coucal chicks were rescued at Clunes when they wandered into a garden. Brett the property owner, acted quickly when he saw the chicks being stalked by a cat.
Brett was aware of the Pheasant coucals as he had heard them regularly, sadly the sound stopped just prior to finding the chicks.
The best outcome would be to reunite these little ones but that can only happen if the parent birds are found to still be around. If that isn't possible they will be raised in WIRES care and soft released when old enough to fend for themselves.
Brett is keeping ears and eyes peeled and will contact us if the parent birds are found.
Image by Julie Marsh
In January, WIRES NR received a call to rescue a Royal Spoonbill chick who had fallen from its nest in the middle of Lismore. Spoonbill nesting colonies can consist of many pairs who each build a solid bowl shaped nest out of sticks. They seem to prefer large hoop pine trees and can be a considerable distance from water.
The nest was too high to replace the chick and the following week another slightly younger chick fell. This chick was weak and suffering from heat exhaustion.
The chicks were initially rehydrated then tube fed until they regained strength. When they were ready to fledge an attempt was made to return them to the nest tree, but all the other chicks had fledged and all spoonbills had left! Getting the chicks into a flock was important, as although the were now self feeding, they needed the experience and safety of other spoonbills to survive. Despite an extensive search of all waterways surrounding Lismore, no spoonbills were sighted. Spoonbills can travel hundreds of kilometres to find suitable water ways and hopes of returning the two chicks into a flock were diminishing.
Nesting platform in care
Sharing a drink whilst in care
Ready for release
Fortunately, it was discovered a flock of spoonbills visit the waterways next to Seabird Rescue at Ballina and the two chicks were transported to SBR. Happily, the chicks were released a couple of days later when some spoonbills were sighted.
Images by Melanie Barsony
This little mountain brushtail was found last Friday when a team of people were doing bush regeneration work in the area behind Bunnings Lismore Trade Entrance, in the trees near the river.
He was found alone, on the ground laying on his back in a very bad way. He was very dehydrated as the day was so hot, and it is unclear how long he had been away from his mum. At this age Mountain brushtails would be mostly carried in their mum’s pouch, starting to venture onto her back for short periods of time.
Anthony, an ecologist who was one of the team, rushed the little guy to Uralba Street Vet clinic, and one of our rescuers picked him up and brought him into care. He was very dehydrated, and it took several days of intensive rehydration until we were confident he would recover.
A big thank you to Anthony and the bush regeneration team for being vigilant and spotting this little possum, acting quickly and getting him the help he needed.
He will be buddied up with a female Mountain Brushtail when he is a bit older, they will be released together once old enough to fend for themselves towards the end of the year
Image by Renata Phelps
Leading up to the weekend of 11/12 February, WIRES northern Rivers members were on alert for high temperatures which could impact on flying-fox camps in Casino, Kyogle and possibly other locations. WIRES members were rostered on to monitor and attend.
After repeated days of high temperatures, Saturday reached 43 degrees in Casino and several hundred bats sadly died from the compounding effects of the heat. Several hundred more died overnight and were found on the ground on Sunday morning.
On Sunday, our members were rostered on from 7am and many stayed despite the extreme heat until nightfall.
During the day, temperatures climbed to 46 degrees and approximately 2000 bats died.
WIRES members, with the help of RFS sprayed the foliage of roost trees to help cool and hydrate the bats still in the trees.
Live bats which fell were rehydrated and released. Hundreds of bats were saved.
Similarly, a rescue operation at Kyogle cooled and rehydrated hundreds of bats, sadly, about 100 bats died there.
Many other flying-fox camps around NSW were also affected.
THE Northern NSW Local Health District has warned North Coast residents to avoid handling or touching dead flying foxes or Microbats following the recent extreme heat. If you find a dead bat do not touch it, call your local council. Should you find a live bat in distress do not touch the bat, please call WIRES on 66281898.
Live bats which fell were rehydrated and released. Hundreds of bats were saved.
Images by Julie Reid
The need for responsible pet ownership
In the Northern Rivers being the second most biodiverse area in Australia we are very lucky to still have a broad range of wildlife in our towns and cities.
With this comes a responsibility we all must share and that is to ensure our precious wildlife is as safe as possible as they go about their daily and in many cases nightly duties foraging for food.
This little Swamp wallaby came into care last night due to being dropped by her mum that was being chased by a dog on an oval in Lismore.
Ovals are usually covered in grass, which is much needed food for our wallabies trying to cope with loss of habitat.
Mum got away, but that may not mean all is well in her life, being chased by a dog may result in her demise some days or even weeks later due to a condition called Myopathy. Macropods are not equipped to deal with stress; we can only imagine the stress she endured yesterday whilst the dog chased her and the consequences of that chase.
Please make sure your dog is on a leash where wildlife may be present.
We would like to thank the member of the public that rescued her joey; also thank you to Keen St Veterinary clinic for helping this little joey when she was brought to the clinic.
She is just 5 months old and will be in care for approximately 8 months growing up with other wallabies of similar stages of development.
All will be released together around the end of September once old enough to fend for themselves.
If you would like to join WIRES and learn more about our native wildlife, help them survive into the future, please give us a call on 66281898, or send us an email email@example.com.
Our next workshop will take place 26 February in Lismore.
Images by Jeanette Dundas
This little Boobook owl chick was found on a busy road after it was pulled from its nest hollow and dropped by a predator. It suffered puncture wounds and bruising to one wing and was very weak and dehydrated.
It recovered well from its injures and grew quickly. Unfortunately the nest hollow and parents could not be located, so it will stay in care until old enough to be released.
Southern Boobooks are Australia’s smallest owls and may be found throughout the mainland and Tasmania. They hunt insects and small mammals such as mice during the night and sometimes at dawn and dusk. Like all owls they depend on nest hollows to breed. Boobooks are commonly called Mopokes due to their distinctive call.
Images by Melanie Barsony
On the 8th January Wires Northern Rivers hotline received a call from a member of the public about a snake that had been observed in the same position for quite some time. A WIRES reptile handler went to investigate and found that the Coastal carpet python was actually sitting on her eggs; unfortunately she did was not very well.
Overburdened with ticks andhaving a large mass internally (not supper) she had to be taken into care along with her eggs.
The Python and eggs were transferred to a WIRES reptile carer where the eggs were placed in an incubator with the hope that they were not damaged.
Mum Python was taken to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital where it was discovered that three eggs were still inside her and they were responsible for her discomfort, having caused an infection. The eggs were carefully removed and she was brought back for care.
Just 13 days after the eggs were placed in the incubator, two eggs hatched and a further two the following day.
The four young Pythons were released two days later into a lovely place with lots of undergrowth to find new homes for themselves.
Mum will be released close to where she was found when she has fully recovered.
Images by Melanie Barsony and Marion Nel
Platypus are fascinating animals, we all love to see them in our creeks and dams, but rarely are we lucky enough to spot one. They are a semi-aquatic mammal that lays eggs; their beak is rubbery and feels like suede, it is also flexible as is the webbing on their feet. The beak is used to dig up food from the creek bed, prey is detected by electroreceptors on the bill. The eyes and ears as well as the nostrils are closed whilst under water. The fur is waterproof which allows it to stay warm in and out of the water.
Breeding occurs in our local area around September, the female will lay 1 or 2 eggs which she incubates against her abdomen for about 2 weeks, she will at this stage be inside a blocked off nest at the end of a long burrow called a breeding burrow. The young Platypus will suckle the mother for 4 -5 months, milk is excreted through the skin on the abdomen, they have no teats.
Platypus rarely comes into care as they are fairly safe in their aquatic habitat. Most of their time is spent within their burrows; they only go into the water to feed.
Burrow locations are carefully chosen, nearly all burrows are found in river or cheek banks rising one metre or more above the water, well concealed by overhanging vegetation and made strong by plant roots reducing the likelihood of burrows being damaged by erosion.
The most common reason Platypus get into trouble is when rivers and creeks rise due to flash flooding. At this time of the year, juvenile Platypus are still dependent on mum and have not yet left the burrow. They can be washed into the creek, at times taken by the current and washed away from mum and the burrow.
This juvenile male came into WIRES care last week two days after flash flooding of our local creeks. He was found swimming awkwardly, and easily picked up. He was exhausted, had swallowed lots of water and was covered in ticks. He sadly died within 12 hours of being found from pneumonia and exhaustion.
Thank you Andrea and Alstonville vet for helping this little fellow, sadly he was found too late, but rest assured he died peacefully whilst fast asleep.
If you live near creeks or rivers, please look out for young Platypus at this time of the year if flash flooding occurs, a young one may be able to be saved if found in time.
Please keep our rivers and creeks clean, do not dump rubbish of any kind, animals such as these can become tangled and are unable to swim or feed.
Image by Leoni Byron-Jackson
Spoonbills are named for their spatula like beak which they use to forage for food on the foreshores of lakes, marshes and dams.
In the wild they mainly eat fish, crustaceans and insects; it is fascinating watching this bird move its beak from side to side through the water looking for food.
This Royal Spoonbill came into care with WIRES after falling from its nest, which is a structure of twigs and branches very high, in this case a large pine tree, on Monday 9th January at Lagoon's Grass near Lismore.
A lovely lady named Veronica placed the chick on a lower branch hoping the parent birds would come down to feed it. But as there were other chicks in the nest high in the tree the parent birds will always favour those chicks, having trouble feeding chicks in two locations.
The chick fell again so Veronica phoned Wires and the Spoonbill chick was taken into care, he was promptly named Walter.
Veronica was more than willing to monitor the nest and let us know as soon as the other chicks started to leave the nest; the plan was to reunite Walter with his family at that stage.
On 15 January the call came from Veronica advising the spoonbill chicks had fledged, hopping from branch to branch and flying between 2 large pine trees. Walter was going home.
He was placed as high as possible in one of the pine trees and slowly he began to make his way up the tree hopping from branch to branch and flying short distances getting closer to his siblings.
Veronica monitored the reunite, and sent this message the following day:
"Walter is good, they are all in the big tree at the house together and have been flying from tree to tree, the parents have been feeding them 😊 So far so good”.
Message received today from Veronica:
“The spoonbills all fly out of a day and go fishing somewhere and usually come back of a night to the tree. They seem to be living the perfect spoonbill life”.
Thank you Veronica for calling WIRES and for your continued involvement ensuring this beautiful bird’s return to its family and life in the wild.
Images by Julie Marsh & Kim McCully
A Second Chance for Laughing Kookaburras
On the 29th and 30th Dec three juvenile Laughing Kookaburras were released at Goonellabah, Northern NSW.
It is not always possible to reunite chicks or juvenile birds once they have been rescued. The next best outcome is to raise in captivity and then soft release. During the soft release process the juvenile kookaburras are support fed slowly reducing food until they are independent.
Each of the kookaburras recently released came from different circumstances.
A juvenile kookaburra from Goonellabah was found on the ground weak and hungry. After a couple of days care her energy levels were restored and an attempt was made to reunite but the adult kookaburras had moved on. This youngster was still dependent on the parent birds so needed to be raised in captivity.
The other two kookaburras came from Byron Bay. Both had fallen from their tree hollows and couldn't be reunited as their hollows were much too high. One was pink, unfeathered with eyes still shut; the other had just developed pin feathers. These little ones needed specialised care before they were old enough to be transferred to an aviary.
During their time in the aviary these juvenile Laughing Kookaburras had formed a bond and became more independent each day. Their natural hunting instinct had kicked in this was obvious by the way they sat, watched and swooped down at anything that moved.
Their flying skills were becoming more proficient, at first crash landing but eventually landing on fixed and swinging perches. They were also becoming restless, it was time, these youngsters had developed the skills to survive outside the aviary.
A local Laughing Kookaburra named Bolshy who had been raised in captivity and released in 2015 was showing an interest in these kookaburras. He perched in the trees near the aviary and communicated to those in care.
On the 29th two of the juvenile kookaburras were released. It didn't go as planned one just flew off and went south. The other perched in the pine trees near the aviary and was soon joined by Bolshy, they flew off together in the opposite direction.
Later that day the three kookaburras were seen together, they had explored the territory, discovered where the support food was and seemed settled.
The overwhelming event to witness was seeing Bolshy, last years soft release, feed one of the young kookaburras. I was no longer concerned about their well-being Bolshy was going to be a parent and teacher to these juveniles.
Bolshy as an inexperienced adult kookaburra would gain valuable breeding experience with these youngsters.
The next morning the third juvenile was released.
It was such a pleasure on the second day of release to see the 4 kookaburras perched on the same branch in a large eucalypt tree.
These Laughing Kookaburras may eventually disperse and become helpers in other family groups, or this could be the start of their own family group.
It is such a rewarding experience being a WIRES volunteer.
When you care and release animals back to the wild you do make a difference.
Story and Images by Julie Marsh
Wildlife caring involves many roles, not just caring for animals. Transporting wildlife after rescue to an appropriate carer is a regular and often urgent need. Sometimes, transport has to be arranged between WIRES branches.
Two Collared Sparrowhawk chicks survived after a storm brought down much of the tree where they were nesting. The parent birds were nowhere to be seen so any chance of reuniting the chicks was lost. After initial care by another WIRES branch, a raptor carer was needed but none were available at the time in that area. A Northern Rivers Branch member drove 5 1/2 hours round trip to bring the precious cargo to a raptor carer in Casino who hopes to release them in future.
Collared Sparrowhawks are a small secretive hawk who are found in woodlands, farmlands and sometimes urban areas. Collared Sparrowhawks rely on trees or tall shrubs for cover to ambush their prey, darting out to catch them. At other times they sit quietly and are very easily overlooked.
Collared Sparrowhawks mainly eat small birds caught in flight, including the introduced sparrows and starlings, as well as lizards, insects and occasionally small mammals. They hunt during the day, and also at dawn and dusk to catch birds at their roost sites. They have a very long middle toe used to clutch their prey.
Image by Melanie Barsony
Extreme hot weather affects humans and animals alike. This Pacific Baza chick was found on the ground at Bentley on day three of last week’s heatwave, when temperatures reached 40 degrees. She was being hassled by crows but fortunately suffered no injuries apart from being severely dehydrated and heat stressed. She recovered slowly and after a week in care an attempt will be made to reunite her with her parents. If this is not possible she will be raised until natural dispersal age and released near where she was found.
Pacific Bazas are a docile hawk with distinctive barred chest and a crest. They hunt primarily in tree foliage for large insects and frogs but will also take small birds, nestlings and small fruit such as native figs. They are found commonly in the tropics and appear to be increasing their range southward in NSW past the Sydney region.
Image by Melanie Barsony
WIRES is recruiting! Your local branch of NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service is an all-volunteer organisation that needs new members throughout the Northern Rivers region. WIRES offers a basic training course that will teach you how to safely rescue and provide emergency care for injured and orphaned wildlife. If you would like to join WIRES and participate in our RICC on 26 February, please contact us as soon as possible. Call our 24 hour hotline on 6628 1898 or click here