On Monday 16 May John arrived at work to find a baby Royal Spoonbill on the ground. It had fallen from its nest located high up in a very tall pine tree.
The school where John works is near Alstonville Vet Clinic so he bundled the little one up and took it there to be examined.
Fortunately, the chick aka ‘Little Joseph’ was cleared to go into care, and was picked up by avian trained WIRES volunteer Julie.
After falling from such a height it was a miracle that there were no injuries.
The Royal Spoonbill can often be observed wading through the shallow waters of dams, lagoons and marshes in search of its preferred food which is fish.
It is a very large water bird and gets its name due to its bill being shaped like a spoon. When searching for food, the bird moves its partly open bill from side to side through the water and grasps food in the spoon shaped tip of the beak, then with one upward flick of the head it throws the food back and swallows it.
The Royal Spoonbill breeds between October and May. A shallow nest of sticks is built by both adult birds, they also share the incubation of their eggs.
Spoonbills commonly build their nests in colonies but at this location there are only a couple of nests, and John knew exactly which nest ‘Little Joseph’ fell from.
Last Tuesday 31 May, after 2 weeks in care ‘Little Joseph’ had doubled in size, he was strong and healthy, the consistent rain had eased off. It was time to reunite ‘Little Joseph’ with his parents and sibling.
The nest was approximately 20m up in the pine tree, in order to reunite Little Josef with his parents and sibling professional help would be required. Your Tree Feller was contacted, and were more than happy to help reunite the little Spoonbill.
Craig, Ben and Sid from Your Tree Feller arrived on site and set up the cherry picker below.
Ben skillfully steered the cherry picker up between the branches of the large tree. It didn’t quite reach the nest so Ben climbed the extra height to reach the nest.
Meanwhile the adult Spoonbills circled overhead, watching closely whilst Ben gently placed ‘Little Joseph’ next to his sibling, and climbed back down.
That night turned out to be rather gusty, but John messaged Julie early the next morning that all was well, both Spoonbill chicks were in the nest and the parents were attending.
Thank you to John who found Little Joseph, and thank you Craig, Ben and Sid from Your Tree Feller who skillfully put ‘Little Joseph’ back in the nest.