Carers stories 2014
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.
Going for a swim on a hot day turned out quite different than expected for Jamil, this bird’s rescuer.
A goshawk was snagged on a fishing lure approximately 12 metres above the deep swimming hole at Rosebank where Jamil was about to have his swim. Rather than dive into the cool water he called WIRES.
Follow Jamils eyes to see the bird hanging high above the water.
In the WIRES rescuers words:
To reach the site we walked a few hundred metres downstream carrying the rescue gear, at times wading waist deep with car keys and phone high and dry on my head in my cap.
On arrival we looked at all options to rescue. Very tricky! There was no way to reach the branch to cut it - bar felling the entire tree.
Jamil who called the rescue in is standing on top of a 2 metrer step ladder which he managed to secure on the pond floor in the picture. We tied two, yes 2 extendable poles together and tied a knife on top, and were ready with a snake bag to catch the bird before it hit the water.
After many failed attempts and exhaustive efforts, Jamil finally managed to jag the line and the hawk landed close to the opposite bank. He quickly swam to its aid and floated back to my side of the creek with the bird cupped in both hands. We lost the snake bag in the creek.
It truly was an amazing rescue. There is no way I could have done what Jamil did.
The bird had a fishing lure / hook deeply embedded in its wing so was taken to WIRES raptor specialist where we cut the hook and our raptor lady attended to his creature needs.
In the words of the bird’s carer:
I took him to Casino Vet Clinic the bird was gassed whilst a piece of hook that was embedded in the wing near the wrist joint was carefully removed.
There is significant bruising indicating that the poor bird had been hanging and struggling for some time. He was also still very dehydrated so he was given subcutaneous fluids while still under the anaesthetic.
Time will tell whether he has suffered nerve or tendon damage and the vet will x-ray in a few days when he has recovered. He is on pain medication and antibiotics.
Examination at Casino vet clinic
Well and truly under
anaesthetic whilst lure is being removed
The offending lure removed from the hawks wing.
Please take all fishing gear with you when you leave.
Feeling much better day by day. Thank you Jamil
This magnificent bird was released two week later back at Rosebank.
Pictures below taken just before release.
Georgie Girl is an Eastern Grey Kangaroo orphaned when mum as killed by a car. Whoever drove the car did not bother to stop, however Karen traveling through Queensland stopped instantly when she saw the little joey standing next to her dead mother.
Karen still had a long way to go before she would be home, she went to the closest vet asking if he knew of anyone able to care for the joey. Unfortunately the vet did not know anyone nearby, so Karen bought some special kangaroo formula and Georgie was placed in an artificial pouch for the rest of the journey. Georgie was fed every four hours for the next 6 days whilst traveling with Karen and when they both arrived at their destination in NSW Karen called WIRES.
Georgie is now in WIRES care seen here having a bottle of special kangaroo formula. Karen has done a wonderful job of caring for Georgie, being experienced in how to care for kangaroo orphans from her time as a wildlife carer in Victoria.
We very much hope Karen decides to join us early next year as a WIRES member.
Georgie will embark on the journey back to Queensland in the next week or so. She will be taken to a wildlife carer in the area where she was found. Eventually she will join the mob she came from when her mum unfortunately took the wrong direction onto a lonely road at the same time a car was passing through.
Should you find a native animal in distress far from home, please call the closest wildlife organisation for help as all wildlife must go back to where it was found.
Another little orphan has arrived into care with WIRES, she is a Red-Necked wallaby orphaned when mum was killed by a car near Kyogle.
Rachel as she has been named will join a group of others once she is a little bit bigger. For now she is in a pouch next to another orphan slightly younger, her name is Chloe, both settling into their new routine and life as orphans.
In about 8 months they will both return to where they belong, in the wild.
Rachel just orphaned
Chloe has been in care for some time enjoying her special wallaby formula
This tiny kookaburra chick was found on the ground with no sign of parents around, WIRES was called and two carers went out to check the area.
They found a hollow high up in the tree above where the chick was found, but much too high to reach in order to put the little chick back.The carers watched for some time to see if the parent birds returned which would mean that other chicks would be in the hollow.
The parents did not return to the hollow, the only chick they had would be this little one.
A nest box was made and at 6.30 the following morning the carers went back with nest box and ladder.
Before installing the nest box the chick was placed on a tree stump, the carers stood back out of sight and waited…..The chick started calling, the carers waited, would the parents return? Were they still close by?
Some time went by with no sight of the parents returning and just as the carers was about to collect the little one knowing it would be very hungry one of the parents arrived , then the other parent flew down to the chick both singing beautifully to their offspring.
The box was installed at a safe height, the chick was placed inside.
It did not take long before both parents were busy collecting food, flying in and out of the box, feeding their little chick.
The temperatures have dropped and for the time being, bats and other wildlife are under less stress. Hundreds of orphaned flying foxes are in temporary care away from the Northern Rivers. In a few weeks time when the orphans come home, carers will again be operating to over-capacity until all the animals can be released back into the wild.
WIRES would like to thank members of the public for their understanding during the bat crisis. This is our usual busy spring season intensified by the heat stress on all wildlife, not just flying foxes.
For the remainder of the hot season, remember to put water out for all wildlife. Shallow bird baths are a lifesaver - put them near a low tree branch or a bushy shrub to give the birds a quick escape if a predator comes near. Larger containers of water can be placed farther away from your home for other wildlife - remember to include a large stick so if a creature falls in there is a way out again! Keeping water far away from the house also deters snakes and other animals from seeking water from your pet bowls or dripping taps. Change the water daily, especially if in a shallow container. This means fresh water for the wildlife and no mosquitos breeding in your garden.
Remember to include a large stick in containers of water so if a creature falls in there is a way out again!
Tucki 2 as our Echidna puggle found in a horse paddock was named is thriving and growing in care. Unfortunately the tiny puggle that came in first died some time later from gravel ingested when it was thrown out of the pouch on impact with the car when orphaned. Very sad as it had done so well as you can see from pictures below.
Now weighing 700 gram Tucki 2 is growing up, can drink the special Echidna formula unaided and spines are growing longer.
The tragic event of the horse paddock is hopefully forgotten as life seems pretty good to Tucki 2.
On 15 October Debbie was surprised to find this little Echidna puggle in her horse paddock. The tiny puggle was trying to dig into the gravel in order to hide. Debbie called WIRES straight away knowing such a tiny animal was in urgent need of help.
Trying to dig when so young has caused some damage to his/her feet as you can tell from the images, but treatment and TLC will ensure this damage is not long term.
After examination and hydration the puggle settled into care with our other even smaller puggle already in care. Both are doing well and even though they are yet too young to interact and their eyes are not yet open, we are sure they are comforted by being close.
This little one is quite a bit older than the first, tiny spines are showing through the skin so not too long now before it will become a prickly little puggle ready to explore its surroundings with his/her little friend in tow.
Thank you Debbie for being vigilant and calling WIRES.
Whilst we are busy with the bat disaster other animals are called into our hotline as usual.
These little Kingfishers were orphaned when their nest was destroyed.
The little foursome was reunited with their parents only a short time after the event. A substitute “hollow” was created and mum and dad took over the care of their chicks once again.
Temperature was closely monitored whilst they were in care ensuring they would be in good condition when returned to their parents.
Images by Sharon McGrigor
Bat carers use 100% cotton squares to wrap the baby bats in care from the Casino disaster last weekend. Perfect size is a standard bandanna 50x50cm, already hemmed.
Through this disaster hundreds of wraps are being used daily as the baby bats are changed at every feed.
We have kindly been offered drop off points for members of the public to leave donations of these wraps at the following locations.
Cnr Fox & Kerr Sts
Ballina NSW, 2478
Lismore Square S/C , Cnr Uralba & Brewster Sts
Lismore NSW, 2480
Community Centre Byron Bay
69 Jonson Street Byron Bay
Images by Jule Reid
Some of the innocent victims being bundled up for transport to carers across the state and into Qld. These orphaned flying fox pups are a sample of the approximately 400 pups that came into care mostly from Casino after the weekend heat wave.
Thousands of adults died and volunteers from every available wildlife care group have been working around the clock to keep these babies alive. The feeding of these babies is around the clock, making up bottles, feeding, washing up bottles and teats, finish and it starts again from the beginning with no time in-between.
Each baby bat uses two cloths; both are changed at every feed.
Filling the washing machine, emptying the machine, hanging out the cloths to dry, taking it all back inside when dry and folding it for the next baby bat. This task is also never ending.
But it is all worth it. These Flying Foxes will survive; they will fly free next year and help pollinate our forest.
Flying-foxes are crucial to keeping native forests healthy. They disperse seeds and pollinate flowering plants. Flying-foxes are highly mobile and seeds can be moved over great distances. Seeds germinated away from their parent plant, have a greater chance of surviving and growing into a mature plant. Seed dispersal also expands the gene pool within forests and this strengthens forests against environmental changes.
If you would like to help your donation will certainly be appreciated.
http://www.wiresnr.org/Helping.html See More
Images below by Brydie Lee
Our carers are working round the clock looking after the huge number of Flying Fox babies orphaned over the weekend. If you would like to help with donations we would be most appreciative.
This is a huge task and will be continuing for many weeks to come.
Images by Helen Carlos & Barb Wilkins
Images by Dee Hartin
Sadly many lives were lost on Saturday in Casino. Extreme heat caused the death of thousands of Flying Foxes in the Casino camp.
WIRES had been monitoring the flying fox camps in the region as temperatures climbed and at around 3pm disaster struck.
Thousands of Flying Foxes died dropping to the ground killed by the extreme heat low humidity and lack of shade. Female Flying Foxes have young thi...s time of the year and hundreds of babies were clinging to their dead mothers on the ground.
WIRES, Northern Rivers and Tweed Wildlife carers sprang into action and hundreds of baby flying foxes were taken into care.
Each of these orphans had to be assessed, hydrated and taken care of individually; you can imagine the enormous task of literally hundreds coming in at the same time.
The task is ongoing; carers are working round the clock and emotions are tested as carers do what they can to ensure each and every little flying fox is taken care of whilst dealing with the sight of thousands of adults and juveniles dead and dying.
As the network swings into action baby flying foxes as young as only a few days old are being transferred to other WIRES branches and other wildlife care agencies after assessment and emergency treatment.
He was found in a compost bin, the lid was put back on after having been accidentally left off overnight.
No one knew he was inside. ...
He was in there all day. ...
He was a Mountain Brushtail possum just looking for a meal, it became his last.
He died shortly after being found.
Please check before putting lids back on bins as a possum such as this may be sheltering inside.
Ringtail possums live in small community groups made up of family members. They have multiple young and do not do well as individuals without the support of their family.
Ringtail are tree dwellers and only spend a short time on the ground moving from one tree to another if the distance is too great for them to move through the trees. They live in a drey or if available may choose a nice hollow in an old tree.
This little fellow was found just after 7am on the ground all alone, frightened and dehydrated, something had to be very wrong.
Somehow he had been separated from mum and sibling during the night when out and about.
The lady that found Ash, as he has now been named, called WIRES straight away and he was taken into care.
He had no visible injury and soon settled in after some much needed fluid, he snuggled into the warmth and security of a substitute pouch. He will join other Ringtail orphans shortly.
Please call WIRES as soon as possible should you find a native animal in distress. Ash will be released once he and the other orphans he is joining are old enough to fend for themselves. They will form a family group of their own whilst in care, and this group will most likely stay together which will ensure their survival in the future.
Diana stepped out her front door to see a juvenile magpie in distress hanging 15 meters high in a tree across the road, Diana knew this bird as it's parents and two siblings are regulars to the bird bath in her garden.
Diana had been monitoring this bird for some time knowing that it had string caught on its feet; the two feet tied together, but had been unable to contain it to relieve it of its plight.
Now the bird had snagged itself high in the tree top and it's parents were still attending to its needs, feeding and reassuring it as best they could.
Diane called WIRES.
Having arranged for an arborist to assist, a WIRES volunteer arrived on the scene.
While waiting for help to arrive a neighbour returned home to find some commotion on his doorstep. Fortunately for the magpie Craig was an arborist.
Assessing the situation, Craig sprang into action.
Using equipment from the WIRES volunteers car, a saw was taped to a rescue pole, rope to secure the branch and minutes later the hanging bird was delivered into the hands of the WIRES volunteer.
Remarkably the juvenile magpie had not sustained any injury and following a brief operation to remove the string and the bird given rehydration fluid it was released to a pair of very anxious parents.
Unfortunately many birds fly straight into windows as the reflection can look like the garden or bush. Some are just stunned temporarily and will recover within a few hours if taken inside and put in a box with air holes and left alone in the dark and quiet, then taken back outside before opening the box. In most cases the bird will fly away wondering what just happened.
This Emerald Ground-dove flew straight into a window but did not recover within a few hours. It was taken into WIRES care and treated for concussion. 3 days later it had fully recovered and was taken back to where it came from.
If you have birds flying into your windows regularly please put something on the windows the birds can see, you can use decals, or as many have done put up blinds, it will help keep out the heat in summer and out in winter, and for our native birds it will help them see the window is not a thoroughfare.
It's time again for a reminder about snakes. Snakes
are more defensive and territorial during the spring so giving them a wider berth is a good idea.
Many people pass close to snakes every day but because snakes are so afraid of us and pre...fer to stay out of our way, we never notice. Snakes know the food, water and shelter in their territory and learn the daily movements of the resident humans.
In reality, it is only occasionally that snakes and humans come into conflict -- generally 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. Relocating snakes out of their territory puts them at risk of not finding water and food, and they may die trying to get back home. A stranger snake that does not know your movements may then move into your territory and increase the risk to you. Be aware that a resident carpet python will easily keep rodents in check and deter venomous snake species from moving in!
Discourage snakes by keeping your lawn neat and dispose of excessive leaf litter and other garden waste. Do not leave building materials, woodpiles or compost near the house. Snake-proof your aviaries, pet enclosures and chicken pens with 1cm square mesh wire. Check that windows and doors have secure insect screens and weather strips to close gaps at ground level. Try to train all family members to keep screen doors closed. Keep garage doors closed. Place water at your fence line to minimise the need for snakes to come near the house. Call WIRES if you have questions.
WIRES will come to the rescue if a snake is inside a house. If possible leave the snake an avenue of escape: close the room off and leave outer doors and windows open so the snake can leave when it no longer feels threatened. If you have a snake caught in netting, or if a snake has been in the same position for a number of days, it is also important to give us a call for advice
A discarded fishing net is a death trap for native animals. This Coastal Carpet python was lucky to be discovered struggling trying to get free of a discarded fishing net, unfortunately the more it struggled the worse the entanglement became.
WIRES snake handler was called and the snake was able to be released straight away after being cut free. Please ensure you take any discarded nets and fishing gear with you when your fishing trip is over, leaving rubbish behind can cause severe damage.
This python is 2.4 meters in length and now safely back in his territory.
This little Mountain Brushtail possum joey was sitting on top of his dead mums body late in the evening early August, a very cold and rainy night. As cars drove by he got colder until finally a car stopped. He was gently wrapped in a jumper and WIRES was contacted.
He arrived into care and responded to warmth and fluid. His weight was just 380 gram.
Now almost 3 months later life is looking good, he has become a great little climber, can feed himself when his formula is put into his enclosure, knows how to eat lots of native foliage and looking forward to the big day when he will move into yet an even larger enclosure before finally being ready for release.
Please stop when you see a dead marsupial on the road, a little joey may be very much alive in the pouch, close by or as in this case sitting unnoticed on mums body.
Old tress can be hazardous and are often cut down for safety.
Old trees are also the ones used by many native animals as they are the most likely to contain hollows.
WIRES was called after a Feathertailed glider was seen vacating a hollow as an old tree was cut down. After investigating the hollow 5 tiny Feathertailed joeys and a frog were found within.
The part of the tree with the hollow was separated and attached in the closest tree to the cut down one.
WIRES rescuer found some of the leaf litter that had fallen out of the nest and added some more. The joeys were put back in the hollow, the frog placed nearby.
When our rescuer went back at 6am in the morning she found that the leaf litter had all been re-arranged beautifully by mum Feathertail and the frog was also back in residence. A roof was then nailed to the top to protect the nest from rain and unwelcome visitors.
The little family was safely back together and the lodger seemed happy as well with the new location.
Temperatures are currently well above average as the heat wave continues. Please consider our wildlife and put out water for animals in need.
A container of water hung from a branch will help birds and small tree dwelling animals, but remember to put in a stick so they can get out should they fall in. Feather –tailed and Sugar gliders are very small, they can easily fall into a container but cannot get back out.
Snakes will also be in search of water, place a container of water near fence lines, this will enable the snake to find water rather then come up to a dripping tap near or in your house.
Bird baths are great, but please fill up with clean water each day.
Just as us, wildlife is feeling the stress of this intense heat; give them a helping hand whilst this continues.
Please call WIRES on 66281898 if you come across distressed wildlife.
Plovers nest on the ground and as such they can at times get into trouble when the nesting site is in a spot that is about to be covered with people as was the case when a local show was about to start.
WIRES was called when the grounds people noticed the nest with 4 eggs. Unfortunately we were not able to relocate the nest as the distance would have been too great for the parent birds to follow so the eggs were collected and put in an incubator. We did not know long the parent birds had been sitting on the eggs, so it was a wait and see game as to would the eggs hatch.
Sure enough as you can see in the image all 4 eggs hatched and the little plovers are doing great. They will be released back to the same location when old enough to fend for themselves.
Plovers on their way to release.
Summerland House Farm at Alstonville called WIRES when they discovered a bird in the nursery section with a leg injury.
On arrival on site WIRES carer Jane was surprised to find it was a Bush Stone-curlew which is a threatened species, we were not aware that this species was in the Alstonville area.
The bird was taken to Alstonville vet surgery where it was examined and medication prescribed for the leg injury. The curlew was taken back to the vet after 6 days for a check-up. Unfortunately the leg had not yet healed sufficiently for release and needed more medication. Finally after 19 days in care, the curlew was released back to the nursery area at Summerland House Farm with both legs working perfectly again.
Thank you to Summerland House Farm for calling our hotline when this rare bird was in need, and thank you Alstonville vet clinic for your ongoing help and support.
A call to our WIRES hotline for rosellas fallen from the nest at Clunes store.
On arrival it was established that the store owners were reluctantly clearing a large
silky oak tree from the garden as a falling branch hazard.
Half way through the fell they discovered a nest in a hollow with two
Eastern Rosella chicks and called WIRES straight away.
The contractor Michael Tyrer-Goring and his offsider James Godfrey from Byron 2 Bush Tree Solutions were quick to offer a solution. They cut the nest section in its entirety from
the trunk of the tree and secured it in an adjacent tree at a similar
Michael carefully placed the two chicks back in the hollow after they had
been hydrated following their ordeal.
We will monitor the new nest over the next few days to confirm that the
parents who were in constant presence have connected with their new piece
of real estate.
Thank you Byron 2 Bush Tree Solutions for quick thinking and help with this rescue.
It seems appropriate that in this Year of the Threatened Species the first flying-fox pup of the season for WIRES Northern Rivers was of the nationally listed threatened species, the grey-headed flying-fox, which is the iconic species for this year’s theme.
Early in the morning of 22 September, a woman was walking in Stuart St Mullumbimby and saw some movement in the grass under a large fig tree. Upon closer inspection, she saw a new-born flying-fox. She scooped him up into a towel and took him to the Mullumbimby Vet Clinic.
The staff at the vet clinic administered essential first aid and called WIRES.
The new-born grey-headed flying-fox still had his umbilical cord attached, indicating that he’d just been born. He was a premature birth, as his eyes weren’t open and he was underweight. WIRES carers named him Stuart.
He is now three weeks old and is thriving. He will be in care for another few months then will be released.
Thanks to the perceptive early morning walker and Mullumbimby Vet Clinic.
A concerned member of the public Lynette, called the WIRES hotline in the evening of 14 October, a very windy night and a busy night for our hotline with fallen chicks due to high winds. A small Tawny frogmouth chick had fallen from the nest.
The chick was taken into WIRES care and after hydrating and feeding the 43g nestling through out the night it was decided that the chick may be able to be returned to the nest in the morning.
On checking out the site Lynette noticed a fluff ball high in a tallow wood.
No possible way to reach.
Steve Cubis was contacted and happily and enthusiastically arrived on site in 15 minutes with his cherry picker. Very impressive!
On reaching the nest in the cherry picker, to our surprise, we quickly established that there were two other chicks with mum/dad in residence. Steve had the honour of placing our precious cargo back in its home.
The carer tells the rest of the story:
Looking down from the basket I couldn't help but marvel at this enormous piece of machinery delivering such a tiny parcel. How amazing that WIRES support is so strong from a non member who took time and effort to deliver a service that we could not have managed without. A huge THANK YOU to Steve Cubis tree services
Lynette will keep a close eye on the nest and the ground and call us again if required.
When a tree was cut down recently at Caniaba, a pair of Rainbow Lorikeet parents had to abandon the site. Left behind were two nestlings but only one survived the incident.
WIRES was called to the rescue. WIRES carers were able to nurture the young bird and he is well on his way to being released back into the wild.
This is the time of year when WIRES receives many calls about young birds fallen from their nests. The best solution is to try to return the young bird to its nest.
While WIRES carers are trained to raise very young birds, we prefer to reunite them with their parents whenever possible. The parent birds are the true experts at raising their babies!
Nestlings are young birds who are still dependent on the nest. A bird this young on the ground is in trouble. Call WIRES right away.
Fledglings are young birds which are ready to leave the nest. When they leave for the first time, there is a critical period of a day or two when they are learning to fly and they are vulnerable to attack from domestic animals.
If you spot a fledgling on the ground and in danger, try to place it on a substantial branch in a bushy tree. Watch to see if the parents are feeding it.
If in doubt, call WIRES. Our hotline is happy to give you advice or send a volunteer rescuer to help.
On arrival into care
2 weeks after arrival
3 weeks after arrival
This little Echidna puggle was taken into care after being found near mum after mum had been clipped by a car. Both were taken into care and fortunately mum was not severely injured.
The female Echidna does not have a permanent pouch; instead she has contracting muscles in her abdomen, which forms a pouch-like fold. When mum Echidna and puggle came into care straight from the accident the pouch like fold was no longer visible.
The carer spent the night trying to reunite mum and puggle hoping mum would once again accept her puggle needing to be within the pouch like fold. Unfortunately it was not successful. Mum Echidna was released a few days later and the puggle stayed in care.
Puggle had nasty grazing and bruises down one side of the body and bruises on its head and was only 26 days out of the egg.
Feeding a puggle this young has huge challenges, however the puggle has now been in care for just over three weeks and continues to grow, putting on good weight and its injuries are healing. It came into care at just 73 gram, it is now just over 100 gram and getting some colour under the skin indicating its spines are developing.
Should you by accident hit an Echidna please stop, check not only the adult Echidna but also the surrounding area as female Echidnas are likely to have a puggle on board currently. As we have just found out the pouch like fold will relax if injured, the puggle will fall out and possibly roll some distance away from mum’s body. Please call WIRES straight away as the puggle will require intensive care immedietly.
Thank you Kate for stopping and calling WIRES.
From a WIRES member:
Had a magical WIRES moment yesterday. I was called out to pick up a baby ‘noisy miner’ bird that had fallen from it’s nest and apparently had fishing wire hanging from it’s mouth. There it was, dazed, lonely & confused,... nest on the ground, no sign of mum or dad, but also no fishing wire?!
I scooped it up took it to the vets and got the all clear, no fishing wire:) Baby ‘Noisy miner’ was also started to live up to his name! So back to the tree we went, noisy all the way! On arrival there though I heard some other “TWeeT TWeT TWeeTs” from the bottom of another tree, 2 more babies and the mum & dad still feeding them!
I had made a nest basket out of ‘gutter guard’ and put the old nest inside, tied it back up in the tree, popped them all in and a few minutes later mum, dad & babies all reunited in a nice secure nest in the tree!! Such a nice feeling! Thank you Vitality Vets & thank you WIRES!
While WIRES members are trained to raise very young birds, we prefer to reunite them with their parents wherever possible. The parent birds are the true experts at raising their babies! Reuniting chicks does take some time and patience. The carer has to evaluate the site, find a suitable tree and must always wait to check that the parents are actually feeing the chicks. However this time is much less than raising a chick all the way through to a successful release.
WIRES was called to rescue a magpie nestling who was injured after falling from its nest. A few weeks later it had recovered from its injuries, but during this time there was a territory dispute with the magpies and his parents lost their tree to other magpies. So sadly he was unable to go home.
When another magpie chick was rescued in Casino there was the possibility of re-homing the orphaned chick. Care must be taken when doing this as we cannot overload the parent birds with too many chicks. However, this chick’s sibling died when their nest fell from a tall tree, so here was a perfect opportunity.
Both chicks were shown to the magpie mother who immediately flew into a tree and called for her partner.
They both came and looked at the chicks and then the mother brought a worm and fed one of the chicks. A substitute nest was placed in a branchy tree and within minutes the parents were attending and feeding the chicks. The next day, the older orphaned chick was flying and following the parents while they gathered food and continued to feed both the chicks.
A happy ending for all concerned!
The Kookaburra will use a large cavity in almost any object big enough to contain an adult, usually a hole in a tree or termite mound for their nest, however this particular kookaburra got into trouble when it chose a Whirlybird roof vent and became trapped once inside. How it managed to enter is anyone’s guess.
WIRES was called and our rescuer managed to free the bird with help from an experienced person able to climb onto the roof.
Once examined by the WIRES rescuer the bird was able to fly off and hopefully locate a more suitable nesting hollow.
It reminds us once again how important it is to investigate if you hear or see anything unusual as this bird could have sustained severe injury had it not been noticed early.
Kookaburras form permanent pairs, are very good parents and take so long to rear their young to independence that more than one clutch per seasons is unlikely. Breeding is September-January and after a short courtship to renew their bond they clear out their nest usually situated in the hollow of a tree or any cavity large enough for the adults such as a termite mould (so once again leave those old limbs and hollows on trees), the nest will have a flattened entrance hole so that the chicks can reverse backwards and excrete over the side. They lay 1-4 white rounded eggs; incubation is 24 days by female and other group members, as is feeding and parental duties. Fledging takes approx. 5 weeks with the babies grabbing any food that is brought into the hollow often attacking, sometimes fatally, the youngest chick. After they begin to fly the fledglings are fed by the adults of the group for up to 13 weeks and instead of being forced out of the territory, most stay to help their parents defend boundaries and protect further offspring.
Birds can get into trouble in the most unfortunate places.
A magpie got into trouble by getting its leg trapped between the gutter and the fascia on top of a large building in Lismore. Magpies mate for life and the mate of this particular magpie was sitting next to his/her trapped mate, keeping a watchful eye on any potential predator approaching.
WIRES was called and the volunteer rescue person realised there was no way of getting to the bird without help from a professional.
Steve from Steve Cubis Tree services was contacted and happy to help. Steve arrived with the equipment needed and managed to free the trapped bird.
Luckily the bird was not injured, it and its mate flew off together.
WIRES would like to thank Steve Cubis for his continuing assistance taking the time to help not only this bird, but our volunteer rescuers in situations such as this. It is very much appreciated.
Earlier this month, three baby Ringtail possums were rescued from The Byron Arts Factory. Some visitors from Europe were sitting in the shade of trees near reception when they heard a shriek. They looked up to see a large python wrap itself around an adult possum. Almost immediately, three little furry balls dropped to the ground. The visitors gathered up the little ones and asked reception to ring WIRES.
WIRES hotline advised them to put the babies asap into a box with some towels or a blanket and keep them somewhere warm and quiet. This greatly reduces the stress of an orphaned or injured animal. The less human handling the better. Frightened animals tend to be as quiet as possible to avoid alerting predators and will rarely exhibit symptoms of pain. The reality is that a human is perceived as a serious threat: the fear of being eaten is the animal's biggest concern.
The WIRES rescuer soon arrived with a rescue basket, prepared with a woolen pouch for the occasion and thanked the three young men for their quick action. They literally saved the lives of the young possums.
The little ones have been in care for just over two weeks now and are all doing very well. The carer advises there are two males and one female who have all settled into their feeding routine. They get fed special possum milk 4 times per day and are housed in their own little dray (nest) cage filled with native foliage to enable them to browse (nibble) through the night. They will be in care for approximately 3 months when they will be old enough to be released into the wild.
Always remember, if you find a baby ringtail possum on the ground look for others as the female ringtail possum often has three babies and always has at least two.
Doubtful Creek Primary School had an unusual young visitor making use of the toilet block earlier this month -- a tiny baby Squirrel glider. Staff alerted WIRES and the little one is now in care and has a chance to survive and return to the wild.
Gliders are nocturnal: they travel mainly by gliding silently through the trees at night.
The average adult weighs only 230 grams with head and body length 18-23cm and a bushy tail measuring 22-30cm.
Squirrel gliders live in large social groups with up to 7 adults and their young sharing a common nest. They feed mostly on nectar, pollen and small invertebrates but also make incisions with their razor sharp teeth in the bark of Eucalypt trees and lick the sap.
These gliders can glide long distances. To become airborne, they hurl themselves from the tree with legs outstretched. The flap of skin between their front and back feet extends like a parachute. The tail helps to steer, brake and anchor itself on landing.
The Squirrel glider is an endangered species and you can help. Be aware that gliders and other wildlife nest in tree hollows. If possible, do not cut down old dead trees: they are wildlife apartment blocks! If you discover an injured glider, call WIRES hotline immediately. These creatures are extremely vulnerable to bacteria from cat contact: if you know or suspect a cat has touched them, they will need medical care within 4-6 hours to have a good chance of survival.
The Swamp wallaby is found in eastern and southern Australia from Cape York to South western Victoria. They prefer thick undergrowth in the forest where they hide in thick grass and dense bush during the day and come out at dusk to browse for food. They eat a variety of grasses, shrubs and ferns.
This little fellow was found in his dead mothers pouch, mum had died from Myopathy. Wild dogs are seen regularly in the area where mum died.
Myopathy in Macropods (being wallabies, pademelons and kangaroos) happens when the animal is under extreme stress, as is the case when it is being attacked or chased by a dog.
The animal does not have to be injured directly to develop Rhabdomyolysis which is a disintegration of the muscle fibres. From within 24 hours up to a few weeks after the incident, the wallaby will show stiffness and paralysis mainly in the hindquarters, progressing to complete paralysis, it will also salivate excessively, death will occur within 2-14 days after the stressful incident.
Little Evan weighing just 800 gram has now settled into care with other wallabies in WIRES care and life is once again exciting and joyful. Evan will be released in about 7 months’ time with his new mates.
A juvenile Whistling Kite was found on the road near Whiporie, apparently hit by a passing vehicle. Kites are opportunistic feeders and she was most likely taking advantage of roadkill. As the bird's parents looked on, an alert local rescued her. He quickly brought the bird to Casino and contacted WIRES.
At Casino Vet Clinic, Ed King made x-rays and found two fractures in the bone of one wing.
The vet performed difficult surgery: aligning the bones and threading a pin through to hold it all in place. He then strapped the wing to immobilise it to allow the bone to mend and released her into WIRES care.
After a month's teamwork between WIRES and the vet, with regular x-ray monitoring and bandage changes, the young kite managed to pull at the strapping and remove most of it. Responding to this signal, the vet checked again and found the bone healing well, although with a slight overlap at one fracture site. The pin was removed and the bird was moved to a small aviary to allow some movement to aid healing.
One week later, she was moved to a larger aviary where it became obvious that although she had much improved, her wing was not fully extending.
If you look carefully at the close-up photo, you can see that the injured right shoulder is resting higher than the left.
The care team decided to send her to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where they did additional surgery to round off the bone edge. The young kite spent the next four months in Currumbin's big flight aviary, recuperating and regaining strength and muscle tone.
When she was ready for release, WIRES and Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers together managed her transport back to NSW. The Whistling Kite was released five months after her injury, very near where she was found, but well away from the highway.
WIRES is an all-volunteer organisation. There is always a need for more carers. If you are interested in joining our next course will take place 20 & 21 September Call the 24-hour hotline on 6628 1898 or click here
This morning the gate was opened allowing 5 little orphaned wallabies to leave their enclosure.
They have been in WIRES care for 7 months and more for some, after coming into care from car accidents and dog attacks. They have grown up together and will now have the option to stay together or slowly make their own way back to the wild.
Carers find that most stay together for some time fairly close to their enclosure, some come back into the enclosure needing the security, but all eventually leave for good once they feel confident.
It is so important for orphaned animals to have the security of each other; they learn from each other and form a little family group whilst in care making their release less stressful.
The group is seen here shortly after coming out through the gate.
We wish them all a long and happy life.
Sugar Gliders are beautiful little creatures that we rarely notice as they emerge from their homes after dark. As they travel mainly by gliding silently through trees at night we are often not aware that they are calling our gardens home and doing us a great service by feeding on lerps and other insects.
Unfortunately predators are numerous due to these gliders being so small. The average adult weight is 120 gram with a beautiful long fluffy tail approximately 20 cm long, the same length as their body.
This little female was discovered in the mouth of a domestic cat.
It was soon discovered after she was brought into WIRES care that she was carrying two little joeys in her pouch.
Unfortunately due to extreme stress and paralysis she lost her joeys and both were too immature for us to save.
She was given emergency treatment on arrival and the following morning she was taken to Goonellabah Vet clinic where x-rays showed no spinal damage. It is hoped that her paralysis may only be temporary.
Bacteria from a cat attacked animal can be treated successfully if the animal comes into care within 4-6 hours; chances for survival become less as the hours go by if not treated.
The outcome for this little lady is still uncertain, she is putting up a mighty battle for survival, her carer will give her every chance possible and we hope for her return back to her family group.
Sugar Gliders nest in tree hollows, once again we are reminded how important old trees are for our native animals, they are used by many species for nesting and shelter. The nest is called a den and is lined with gum leaves.
Social groups are made up of up to 7 adults and their young sharing a common den. The male uses his scent glands to mark all members of the group, they are territorial and intruders are shown no mercy.
Please ensure your cat is securely inside from dusk till dawn.
Echidnas are breeding early this year and puggles may now be in "pouch" -
If you spot an apparently injured echidna, chances are great that a young one or puggle is not far away as the muscle holding the puggle automatically releases on impact.
Please take a few moments to search the immediate area to find puggles: they will be rolled into a ball and may look like a clump of clay. Because of their spines, it is difficult to handle or assist adult echidnas yourself. Call WIRES right away and our hotline will give you advice.
A swooping magpie is protecting the nest at breeding time.
Not all magpies swoop, only those that perceive an intrusion to their territory.
Avoid the area for the short time the magpie is nesting. You couldcarry an open umbrella or wear a hat.
Do not try to interact with the magpie as this will make it more aggressive. The nest is the most dangerous place for a juvenile bird, as predators can easily find them, so the parent birds will encourage the young to leave as soon as possible. They will leave the nest before being able to fly and will flutter from bush to bush being fed by the parents. It could be interesting to observe the magpie parents as they go through their training rituals.
An all-volunteer organisation, WIRES relies heavily on the generosity of caring people for support as we are a charity, not a government service. Our next training course will be 20-21 September. If you are interested, call the 24-hour hotline on 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible
A trap set for a fox unfortunately attracted a bandicoot mum looking for an easy feed.
As the trap was checked and opened first thing in the morning the bandicoot took off at record speed and in the process left behind two little dependant joeys. WIRES was called straight away and the joeys are now in care. They will be released back to the wild once they are able to fend for themselves.
If you use traps please ensure they are checked regularly especially first thing in the morning.
Gliders come in many sizes, the smallest being the Feather-tailed glider with a head and body length of just 6.5 - 8cm and an adult weight of 10-15 gram.
This little lady was found on 2 August inside a house with her sibling. Unfortunately her sibling did not survive however Floss as she has been named by her carer is doing well and now ready for exploring the world around her ( in her small enclosure at this stage)
She weighed a mighty 4.5 gram on arrival and has since grown to 5.6 gram, quite a weight gain in just 10 days when one is so tiny.
They get their name from their remarkable tail which is flat with stiff fringed hair growing horizontally either side all the way to the tip. The tail is used to steer and brake as they glide up to 20 meters through the trees. They are the only known mammal to have a feather like tail. Tail length is 7-8cm and shaped just like the feather on a bird.
Due to their small size this tiny Glider is often missed when in trouble, or mistaken for a mouse when the cat brings it inside.
Feather-tailed gliders build their nests in anything from abandoned bird’s nests to banana bags and line the nest with leaves, feathers and shredded bark. The nest is 6-8cm spherical and closed. Usual nesting places include palms, stag horn and tree ferns.
They can at times be found inside the house in winter after someone has brought a load of firewood inside. They may build their nest under the loose bark of old trees as this can be a lovely warm and secure home for these tiny animals. Unfortunately less secure once the timber is taken as firewood. Please ensure you check any loose bark before placing it in your fireplace, not only tiny gliders may be living beneath the bark, so can green tree frogs.
Like all gliders they have a skin fold known as the gliding membrane, in Feather-tails this membrane extends from the elbow to the knee. Fringed with long hair along the edge, the body surface is increased. When stretched out, the glider can float long distances, like a falling leaf. It is at home in the trees, feeding on insects, pollen and nectar it launches itself into the air when it needs to get from one tree to the next.
To become airborne, they hurl themselves from the tree with legs outstretched; the flap of skin between front and back feet extending like a parachute. The flattened tail helps this tiny possum to glide, steer, brake and anchor itself on landing.
The feet resemble that of a frog except with fur, and the large pads on the toes which have serrated groves underneath allow them to climb just about anything. In fact many sweat glands creating moisture on the foot pads allow this tiny Glider the surface tension like mini suction cups to climb even vertical panes of glass.
They are found throughout Eastern Australia from South Aust. through to far north Queensland.
They have been known to live in communal groups of up to 30 and the breeding cycle is all year round in the Northern parts and spring, summer to late winter in the South. The female has four teats but rarely carries more than three young at a time and can fall pregnant whilst still carrying young in the pouch. They have a life expectancy of 4 years in the wild. Both sexes are similar in size and appearance with the obvious difference being the pouch in the female.
In late July the world was turned upside down for this little fellow. He is a Red-necked wallaby and he was found by Chad near Woodenbong standing next to his dead mother. Mum had been killed by a car and the person that hit mum had not bothered to stop.
Lucky for this little joey Chad stopped and called WIRES after picking up the joey and wrapping him warm and snug.
He has been named Chad after his rescuer and he has settled well into care as you can see in the picture.
He is about 7 months old and will be released back to the wild in about 7 months time.
Many wallabies and kangaroos are being injured and killed on pour roads currently. These animals are coming close to the roads in search of green grass due to the dry conditions.
Please slow down at dusk and dawn when traveling in areas where these animals are likely to be. If you see a dead wallaby or kangaroo please stop to check if it is a male or female, if a female please check the pouch, a little one just like Chand may be very much alive.
Our emergency phone line is answered 24 hours, please call us on 66281898 straight away if finding injured or orphaned wildlife.
Thank you Karen for taking the time to rescue this juvenile Pademelon
, he is doing really well in care. Even though he is an older joey he has settled well and is now part of the orphaned macropod mob with WIRES carer Jane.
He will be released with his new family later this year.
Thank you to everyone who is busy knitting pouches
for us – our joeys are cuddled up warmly in your woollies.
These pictures are just some of our wallaby joeys enjoying the warmth, many others including tiny sugar-gliders and possums are equally thankful for your selfless work.
A Toonumbar resident, ready to drive to work, was surprised to find a cheeky hitchhiker inside his sport utility. A large python was settled on the dashboard! He made the wise decision to open the doors and then keep his distance. He hoped that the snake would leave of its own accord. Fortunately he had another vehicle to get to work.
After five days, the python was still sunning itself on the dashboard, so the resident called WIRES.
He advised that the python’s body was the diameter of a wine bottle for most of its length.
WIRES reptile handlers responded to the call. The python looked very much like it had moved in for winter and was a bit cranky about being disturbed. The 2.8m python was gradually coaxed from the vehicle and released on the property. The doors and windows will be firmly closed in future to keep out the same or other unwanted visitors.
If a snake is injured, in trouble or inside your house, WIRES will come to the rescue.
However, most snake calls to the hotline are about snakes sighted in backyards. In most cases, the snake is just passing through and by the time a volunteer gets there it is gone.
The most commonly seen snakes are coastal carpet pythons, green tree snakes and eastern browns.
For more information on snakes please click here.
All reptiles avoid contact with humans. If you leave the snake alone, it will most likely move away when it feels secure to do so. Make sure children or pets do not disturb the snake, as it will become defensive. Snakes are not aggressive, however they will try to defend themselves if threatened.
WIRES is an all-volunteer organisation. If you are interested in joining, call the 24-hour hotline on 6628 1898 or click here to find out how you can help.
DID YOU KNOW that many rainforest trees are only receptive to pollination at
night? Bats, possums and gliders do that crucial pollination, not birds and
bees which are only active during the daytime. Flying foxes are a keystone
species. The message is simple: no bats, no trees.
Due to human destruction of their habitat, these intelligent creatures find
it difficult to locate suitable places to camp. The Environmental Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) has grey-headed flying foxes listed
as vulnerable. The grey-headed flying fox is one of three flying fox species
which camp at Casino.
Humans need to create habitat which suits bats, the habitat which humans
before us have destroyed. We need long term revegetation strategies to
support bat colonies and ensure the continued growth of the rainforests and
our very own survival.
WIRES needs more volunteers in the Northern Rivers. WIRES relies heavily on
the generosity of caring people for support as we are a charity, not a
government service. If you are interested, call the 24-hour hotline on 6628
1898 or click here to find out how you can help.
An unusual customer was discovered this morning in the beer garden at the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay. Even though the particular customer was more than welcome, WIRES was called as the Beach Hotel was about to get very busy.
The Echidna has now been relocated to bushland nearby.
Thank you to the Beach Hotel for your concern for our wildlife
Unfortunately for birds clean windows can show a reflection of the surrounding landscape and the bird will fly straight into it at full speed.
This beautiful Green Catbird flew straight into a window at Clunes and fell to the ground with a concussion. The landowner heard the loud bang and after finding the bird it was rushed to Lismore central vet clinic where after examination it was called into WIRES. The bird spent two days in care recovering and was then released back at Clunes. We hope it takes care when near houses with clean windows in particular.
The Green Catbird eats fruit such as figs but will also eat flowers and other plant material.They also catch and feed small reptiles to their young.
The male helps the female rear the young and they mate for life. The nest is large and bulky built of twigs, leaves and vines with a soft layer of moist wood usually in the fork of a tree or a tree fern.
Would you like to help our wildlife such as this magnificent catbird? If so join WIRES at our next Rescue and Immediate care course coming up on 14 & 15 June in Lismore, call our hotline on 66281898 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mating season is starting for our local echidnas. You might see as many as 10 walking in a line: this is called an echidna train. The female is in the lead with males behind in order of size! She may lead them around for 6 weeks before choosing a mate. As well as moving quite slowly, echidnas also travel great distances while foraging for food.
Unfortunately, this makes them more vulnerable on the roads. In the past few weeks, WIRES has had many calls for echidnas that have been hit by cars. Please be alert when you drive to avoid colliding with an echidna and keep an eye out for injured animals that may be lying by the side of the road. If you need to move the animal cover and gently wrap with a thick towel to carry to the roadside. Please stay with the animal and call WIRES right away.
This Azure Kingfisher unfortunately flew straight into a window. As you can imagine a collision like that is not good for a little bird such as this and he sustained a rather bad concussion. He spent 24 hours in care with WIRES and was released successfully back to where he started his ordeal.
We hope he takes care and stays clear of windows ( which can be hard when they are really clean and reflect the trees or bush )
When dogs and wild birds come too close the outcome is seldom positive for the bird as was the case for this little Noisy Pitta.
WIRES was called immediately after the incident and the bird was rushed to Goonellabah vet clinic where a large wound on the bottom of the birds keel bone was examined and cleaned. The wound showed no internal damage. Eight tiny stitches and a course of antibiotics should have this beautiful bird back into the wild in about six days time.
Things do not always go as we hope. The bird was taken back to Goonellabah vet clinic on 20 May as some of the delicate skin had died beneath the stitches. The wound was again cleaned and closed with eight tiny stitches.
This time all went well and the little Noisy Pitta was successfully released in the forest on the 10th June not far from where it was found .
Picture above taken seconds before release.
This little ball of feathers is a White-Headed Pigeon chick currently in care after mum pigeon was killed by a cat. The member of the public that saw this happen knew there was a nest which the pigeon had been attending for some time so climbed up a ladder and rescued the little chick, then called WIRES.
Calls for pigeon chicks in trouble are coming in regularly at the moment, yet another chick has come into care today and will join the first one in a few days.
Ranging from Cooktown in far north Qld to the Illawarra district NSW the White-headed Pigeon live mainly along our eastern coastal strip only occasionally venturing inland. They are most common in lowland rainforests in the south but further north are more abundant in higher rainforests and also survive well in open woody urban situations. They are among the most secretive of our native pigeons and with any hint of movement or danger will either sit silently in the dense foliage of a tree or on the forest floor, remaining motionless until exiting with loud claps of wings to escape any apparent threat.
Living in local nomadic pairs or groups of 15 or more, they feed by foraging not only on the ground for seed, grasses and grains but also find food in the lower storeys of the trees and forest wandering from place to place according to the ripening of fruits. In the open country the fly not at a high altitude but at high speed, in a straight path but swerve upwards and away at the sight of an unusual object.
The big day arrived on April 29, the Puggles were ready for release. They were given a good feed in the morning and then transported to a safe location for release.
They were placed near a hollow rotting log and two of them went straight into the log and started digging for termites and insects. Another puggle did the Echidna thing, froze and started to dig straight down to become invisible. Another was so excited that it did not know which direction to go, first one way at quite some speed ( yes Echidnas can actually got some speed up when they feel like it ) then it turned around and went a different direction, all the time scratching and digging, sniffing the air. It was the most wonderful sight watching these little ones go. They certainly knew exactly what to do.
After a little while we left them alone, we went away for a few hours and came back to make sure they were all ok. Not a single Echidna was to be found, but it was easy to see where they had been. The ground was scratched, leaf littler was disturbed and if they were still close by we were not able to find them which is how it should be.
The 5 Echidna puggles are now in the final stage before release. They have been transferred to a large outside enclosure and will spend the next 4-5 weeks adapting to life in the wild, learning and recognising the sounds of the bush. They have been given large rotting logs full of termites which they have to pull apart in order to find their food. Logs have also been hidden below the surface of their enclosure giving them the opportunity to search out and dig which in turn will build muscle and strength.
They are still fed a special Echidna milk mixture in order to ensure they all get the correct nourishment until such time as their carer Sharon is satisfied they are able to forage and find enough food to meet their requirements.
They are seen here having their special Echidna milk mixture after which they all had a big sleep.
It can be tiring work moving logs and digging for termites.
Remember our Echidna puggles that came into care back in September 2013?
Image shows as they were introduced to termites for the very first time, they knew exactly what to do. They were so excited, ripping apart the log and sticking their long tongues into the timber extracting the tasty termites.
They came in separately a few weeks apart. Some were highly compromised, others were in good condition but unfortunately for a variety of reasons orphaned. They were a mere 4 weeks old when they were orphaned. Back then it was hard to imagine they would every look like Echidnas as they had no spines.
Now 4 months later their spines have grown, they now eat all by themselves and even though Echidnas are solitary animals these five puggles love to snuggle up together.
It has been a very long road for all of them, but with loving care from Leoni all are thriving.
They still have some months in care learning how to forage for natural food. The time has come to introduce them to rotting logs, leaf litter and a bit later on termite mounds.
They are becoming very inquisitive and decomposing logs has now been provided for them to tear apart with their strong claws searching for insects.
Ellie is a Red-Necked wallaby joey weighing just 500 gram. She was found at Afterlee after her mum was hit by a car and died. A passing motorist stopped to check the pouch and little Ellie was found very much alive. It is not the first time this gentleman has called WIRES after checking a dead wallaby, the last joey Brian rescued from a dead mum was in care for 9 months and has since been released back to the wild.
Ellie will be in care for approximately 9-10 months, her first step is in intensive care until she recovers from shock. She will then move on and meet other orphans, all still in their individual pouches, but able to see and communicate with each other. Her legs are not yet strong enough to bear her weight, but once she grows some fur and gain strength in her legs, her time will be spent in an outside enclosure with her mates. All will still have the security of their pouches( mum ) but able to hop in and out of the pouch, learning how to control those long legs, gaining experience and learn how to interact with others, only something they can learn for others of their own kind.
These animals form a very strong bond to each other and all are released together once mature enough to fend for them selves in about 10 months time.
“Road kill” can at times turn out to very much more than that, joeys can survive in mums pouch for days so please be vigilant, stop if you accidentally hit an animal and if you come across one dead on the road, please check the pouch.
Thank you Brian for stopping to check yet another “road kill”
Early in March, a family in Dobies Bight were surprised to find a brush-tailed phascogale in their house.
They hadn’t seen one of these creatures before, but the distinctive bushy tail indicated that it must be a native animal. It appeared to be exhausted after unsuccessfully trying to escape via the chimney so they called WIRES who were able to identify the animal and take it into care. It recovered very well after being rehydrated and fed, and was soon returned to its home in Dobies Bight.
Brush-tailed phascogale's are officially classified as vulnerable to extinction on the Threatened Species list. They are nocturnal and tree dwelling. They are mainly carnivorous, eating mainly insects, spiders and small vertebrates. They will also eat chicken eggs and young birds. They nest in tree hollows but are also known to nest in sheds and the wall cavities of houses.
Mating takes place during April and June when males will mate with many females. Males then die of stress related illness. Females have up to eight young. Females can live for up to three years.
A little juvenile New Holland mouse was found distressed, alone and immediately called into WIRES NR hotline.
The following day its two siblings were discovered and all three have now been reunited. As they are much too young and still dependant on nutrient from their mum they are in care until such time as they are old enough to for independence. As to what may have happened to mum is unfortunately not known as is often the case when little critters are found alone.
New Holland mouse
The New Holland mouse easily confused with the introduced house mouse, however it is listed as a vulnerable species due to loss of habitat, predation by introduced predators, competition from other rodents, including the introduced House Mouse and inappropriate fire and disturbance management.
Information from Environment and Heritage NSW states: Total population size of mature individuals is now estimated to be less than 10,000 individuals although, given the number of sites from which the species is known to have disappeared between 1999 and 2009, it is likely that the species’ distribution is actually smaller than current estimates.
It can be distinguished from the House Mouse by its dusky-brown tail which is longer than the rest of the body and darker on the dorsal surface. Most of us recognise the smell of a mouse; however native mice have no smell at all.
A little White Headed Pigeon chick weighing only 150 gram was found at Modanville on the ground on 5 March. WIRES was called and it was suggested the lady try to locate the nest in order to return the chick, unfortunately no nest could be found.
WIRES carer Heather picked up the little chick and after consultation with our experienced bird carer Jane it was decided that the chick was well feathered had no injury and old enough to try to reunite it with its parents.
In Jane's words: The next day Heather and I arranged to check out the tree. As we approached the tree 2 adult white headed pigeons flew away. We checked all areas but could not find the nest, however we located a spot where we could put an artificial nest.
All birds pick a certain tree and area for protection from predators, sun, wind and rain; they all have different types of nests. This family of white headed pigeons picked a huge bottle brush tree that is fully leafed on the outside but open inside and underneath, so the parents can fly under and up to the nest.
We placed a small cane basket with leaf litter and wired the basket between two limbs so the parents could land beside the nest in order to feed and protect the chick. The chick was placed in the basket and we stood back away from the tree to observe.
Within 10 minutes the mother came back and fed the chick. We waited for the mother to fly away and then checked the chick. It was sleeping soundly and we checked its crop, it was full.
Evelyn the lady that found the chick kept a close eye on the nest and progress of this little chick and reported back that all has gone well.
The little pigeon was reunited successfully with her parents and continue to thrive.
Should you ever come across a chick on the ground, knowing exactly where the chick was found is important as it will be close to the nest tree, knowing what kind of nest is constructed and used by the different species is equally important in order to construct the artificial nests. If the chick can perch and has balance the nest is not necessary, the chick can be placed on a limb in the nest tree and observed to ensure the parent birds come back and feed it.
In all cases please call WIRES straight away when finding a chick alone.
Little "Bentley" has had a rough start to life, his mum was killed and he sustained a broken leg in a car accident..
He was taken to Lismore Central vet clinic where X-rays were taken of his leg, it was set and plastered and he is now in care with WIRES carers Renata and Don.
"Bentley" is a Red-Necked wallaby joey weighing only 450 gram, he is approximately 5 months old.
Life is slowly getting better for Bentley, he is once again feeling secure, well fed and safe. His leg will be in plaster for approximately 6 weeks being checked weekly at the vets.
Once he has grown some fur and his leg is fully recovered he will join other wallabies in care and eventually be released back to the wild when he is approximately 14-15 months old.
He is seen here in a pouch that has traveled all the way from South Africa please see our story on that below.
Recently WIRES was called to a property near Lismore where a python had swallowed a flying-fox. The python had a tell-tale bulge with pointy bits. It was relocated to nearby bush land where it could digest its meal in safety.
Found throughout Northern New South Wales, and all
the way to Cape York in Queensland, this species has one of the widest
distributions of all snakes in Australia.
With a preferred habitat of
rainforests or eucalypt forests, it is not unknown of this snake to
turn up in the middle of suburbia as this fellow did. They are known for living in the
roof of houses, feeding on vermin.
A heavy bodied snake, this species is known to grow
up to 14 foot in length, although average length seems to be around
7 - 9 feet. The life span of this snake is unknown, and figures from
experts varies greatly, but it is believed that this snake can live
in excess of 100 years. Captive bred animals, which grow at a much faster
rate have been known to live up to 50 years.
Recently a motorist was traveling from Woodenbong to Ballina and thought she’d narrowly missed hitting a Kookaburra at Old Grevillia. When she arrived at her destination, 1.5 hours and 100km later, the driver was horrified to find the bird spread across the grille of her truck.
The Kookaburra had survived the journey and was rushed to Ballina Veterinary Hospital. Amazingly, it was given the all-clear by the vet. After a few days spent recovering in the care of WIRES Northern Rivers, the Kookaburra successfully passed its test flights. It was returned to its home territory in Old Grevillia where it flew away strongly from its carry cage.
Laughing Kookaburras mate for life. They may stay in family groups with older offspring as well as both parents sharing in the care of the young. This lucky bird has probably rejoined its family.
Drivers who think they may have hit something should check the front of the vehicle as well as the ground! You never know what may be traveling with you.
Lace Monitors or Goanna's as they are commonly called are seen regularly in the Northern Rivers area. They are often seen walking along roads or on rural properties. Size can vary greatly and some are indeed very large.
This large goanna was unfortunately hit by a car just before Christmas in 2013 in Goonellabah.
He was rescued after a call to WIRES hotline by reptile handler and carer Jacob.
When the monitor first came into care he was in a sorry state, his teeth had been severely damaged by the impact and he had facial injuries as well as a damaged eye.
Five weeks ago signs of teeth re growth was a huge step forward, and he is now able to eat and drink by himself. His eyes are clear, he is able to see normally and all facial injury has healed.
Having an animal like this in care has its challenges, they are strong with claws that can inflict injury if not handled correctly. They also require a large enclosure in order to recover.
It is now some three months since this goanna was injured. His treatment has been extensive and handled by WIRES NR team Jacob, Leoni and Michael.
He will be ready for release in early April.
December 22 when he came into care
March 17 feeling much better and almost ready for release
Our branch has once again received a parcel of beautiful hand knitted pouches made from organic hand dyed wool all the way from South Africa.
We would like thank Susan and Roseanne, both members of a group called knit4charities. This group of lovely people are all over the world, Rosanne from Coraki ( our local area) has contact with Susan from Sydney who has contact with the South African branch.
Some of the pouches received were made by a lady in Johannesburg, others were made by a lady caring for birds and microbats from a small town outside of Cape Town called Wellington . This lady and her sister Jenny also run a " Farm Program" which try to alleviate the conditions of "pets" on farms. They help with advice on feeds, worming and immunisations in conjunction with local vets and the RSPCA in South Africa. Believe it or not they still find time to knit pouches for our orphaned joeys in Australia.
Below are images of two orphaned wallaby joeys in care being kept warm and snug in some of the pouches just received.
We thought we would post this story again to let you know that the young eagle has been seen flying with her parents, how wonderful is that.
By Melanie Barsony
The last thing a young man and his friend were expecting when driving their ute on a back road near Tabulam was a Wedge Tailed Eagle flying up from the side of the road.
Unfortunately that is exactly what happened. It collided with the car and went straight through the windscreen. The Eagle was a young female and she landed on the driver who amazingly was able to keep his cool avoiding a serious crash. The eagle was stunned and the drivers friend quickly covered her in a horse blanket so the driver was not injured further by her strong talons, he luckily escaped with minor cuts from the shattered windscreen.
The eagle came off second best with some cuts and a badly fractured wing between shoulder and elbow. Kim, Christine and Kate, WIRES rescuers from Drake were called to the rescue, and the eagle was then transferred to Casino raptor carer Melanie.
The unlucky Eagle was taken straight to the Casino Vet Clinic where she was x-rayed by veterinarian Phil. She was sedated and taken in to surgery to insert a pin into the fractured bone. Even though this magnificent Eagle has been a real problem patient, fighting both the strapping and the confinement, we are cautiously hopeful she will make a full recovery.
Please be aware Eagles often come down to road sides to feed on road kill such as kangaroos or rabbits. They are a large heavy bird, especially with a crop full of food and it can take them great effort and time to get fully air born, often across the road and into oncoming traffic.
UPDATE July 24
Our beautiful Wedge Tail is improving every day and she is getting more stretch and strength in her left wing. Time is drawing closer to the big day when she can once again fly free.
After being in care with Melanie for 7 weeks, the eagle had healed well but still had stiffness in her injured wing so she was transferred to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.
She was thoroughly checked by vet Michael who found she was in excellent health, her wing had healed perfectly but she had some reduction in wing extension. Exercising in their large flight aviary gradually improved her wing stretch and after six weeks she was ready to be released.
It was a long trip back to her home in the hills near Tabulam were she was finally released. There was a moment of concern when she first flew to the ground, but she then took of and soared perfectly, flying in large circles, dipping and turning before landing in the tallest tree.
Images below show her release back home at Tabulam.
Red-Legged Pademelon's are a threatened species; they are also secretive, small and absolutely beautiful when fully grown. When you weigh just 205 gram, our fur has not yet grown and you have just lost your mum, being a threatened species and beautiful has little to no meaning.
All you hear when this species is near is a rustle in the grass or thick understorey as they disappear, and that is why Renata and Don named him Rustle.
Rustle was found and rescued by Russel and Candice at Mallanganee last week.
He will be in care for approximately 7 months, at first in a substitute pouch and later in a large outside enclosure with other wallabies learning how to behave and what is acceptable in their world, something only his own species can teach him.
Thank you Russel and Candice for stopping, caring and calling WIRES for help.
Debbie and her partner from Federal were on their way home from Sydney.
They were almost home when they came across a sorry sight in the middle of the road. A small wallaby lay dead and a few meters along her little joey. As Debbie approached the joey raised its head, it was still alive.
Debbie wrapped the joey gently and called WIRES as her partner moved mum away from the road.
The little female Pademelon joey was in a sorry state, she was bleeding from one ear and unable to move her legs and tail. Her eyes were closed and she was in obvious pain. She lapsed into a coma shortly after.
She was given emergency treatment and pain relief as soon as she was taken into care. A severe head injury was certain, but could she also have a spinal injury? She woke from the coma after 4 hours.
The next morning she had slight movement in the tail.
She was taken to Lismore vet clinic where she was examined and X-rays were taken.
No broken bones were found, her lungs were clear but we still had the dilemma of no movement in her legs and tail and swelling of her head.
Amazingly her eyes were bright, her will to live clear for all to see.
With no breaks found and the strong will of the animal to live it was decided to give her time in order to see if she can regain movement of her legs and tail.
She is given pain medication daily, she is feeding well drinking from a bottle and teat. Only time will tell if she is able to recover.
Thank you Debbie for stopping and helping this little lady.
These tiny Kingfishers only a couple of days old were found in a nest on the ground in Alstonville. They are being cared for by WIRES carer Kylie.
Just 9 days later their pin feathers are through, it will not be long before we will know exactly what kind of kingfishers they are. We will post more pictures as they grow.
Our little Kingfishers are now showing their beautiful colours and it has become obvious they are Sacred Kingfishers.
All are doing well in Melanie's care.
An alert Alia and Emil of Dorroughby spotted this tiny 91-gram Ringtail possum joey sitting by the roadside on their way to Whian Whian on Saturday afternoon.
Their parents pulled over and immediately called WIRES, unfortunately they were not able to locate a possum parent in the vicinity. They handled the joey as little as possible, wrapping him in a towel and putting him in a quiet and safe spot as soon as they arrived at their destination. The joey was soon collected by a WIRES volunteer and is now in care.
He will join other Ringtail joeys in care and all will be released back to the wild when old enough to fend for themselves.
Thank you Alia and Emil for saving this little joeys life.
Not so long ago we told you the story of Jo the Pademelon. Jo now has a friend named Jamie. Jamie arrived into care just yesterday after Jamie from Blackhorse Creek found him alone. Little Jamie is much too young to be all alone weighing just 280 gram. He is now settling in with WIRES carer Jane and little Jo who can help him feel secure.
One can only imagine what these little orphans go through first with whatever made them orphans in the first place, and then coming into care. However all joeys are treated for shock and introduced to other joeys of similar stage of development as soon as appropriate depending on their condition.
As you can see form the picture, recognition of their own kind is immediate and the stress levels drop straight away.
These two little Pademelon's will stay together for the duration of their time in care and once the time for release comes, they will support each other in the wild.
Thank you Jamie for being vigilant and noticing this little fellow in trouble and for calling WIRES straight away.
Little Reds Back in Casino
The Casino flying fox colony is currently hosting an influx of visitors. Little Red flying foxes have started to arrive as they often do at this time of year. Normally the Casino colony has Black flying foxes and Grey-headed flying foxes for most of the year, vacating the camp during winter. The Little Reds sometimes arrive during January, usually stay for a few weeks and then move on.
Little Reds are a smaller and more nomadic species, following the flowering patterns of native trees for nectar and pollen, which constitute their main diet. They are important pollinators of trees such as eucalypts and fly further into inland Australia than the other species.
When roosting, they hang together in clumps, like bunches of grapes. The combined weight can result in breaking branches. In flight, they can be identified because their wings are translucent.
These smaller flying foxes are more active, excitable and vocal than the other species. Their presence is being noticed because of their large numbers. They may roost on both sides of the river, swelling the colony beyond its usual area on the Southern side of the river.
Did you know that flying foxes are protected? It is an offence to deliberately disturb them. They are known as “flying gardeners” because of their vital ecological role. Flying-foxes do not present any health risk from urine or droppings.
The situation is being monitored by Richmond Valley Council’s Environmental Officers, NPWS and WIRES. If you spot a flying fox in trouble, please contact WIRES immediately.
WIRES welcomes calls seeking information or reporting your sightings or experiences. We are an all-volunteer organisation. Our next training weekend is February 15-16 at SCU in Lismore. For further details, call the 24 hour hotline on 6628 1898 or visit our website www.wiresnr.org
We need more members in all parts of the Northern Rivers. There are many ways to help including rescues, fostering or simply volunteering for the 24hr hotline. Give us a call to let us know what you can do.
Cleaning up the yard ended in tragedy for Matt when he accidentally fatally injured a large python curled up in the long grass. The reason she was curled up was soon discovered, eggs were found underneath her. Two eggs remained intact and Matt called WIRES asking could we help.
The eggs were collected by WIRES reptile handler Martin.
Martin took the eggs into care and the waiting game began as the eggs were properly incubated which for reptiles is quite specialised. Martin checked the eggs a few times every day and just 7 days later early in the morning the eggs were hatching.
Both pythons are doing well and will be released back to where they came from in the next few days.
Images shows the tiny pythons having a look at the world for the first time.
Thank you Matt for calling WIRES.
The little pythons were released back at Matts property a week after hatching. We hope they have a long and happy life.
Billy came into care early July last year after being found by Kate from Bangalow in his mums pouch, mum died from severe injury after being hit by a car.
Billy was very small when he was first orphaned, he had no fur and his eyes had just opened, he weighed just 330 gram.
At first Billy was in a humidicrib at WIRES carer Jenny's place, however he had quite a lot of trouble sucking from the teat due to a very undershot jaw. With perseverance Jenny managed to get him to drink and after a short time Billy managed just fine.
The next big trial would be to see if Billy could eat solids such as grass and foliage, he would need this ability in order to survive in the wild.
Waiting to see if an animal is able to do the things they will need to do in the wild can be very stressful for the carer, unfortunately there is no way of knowing in cases like this until the animal is old enough to actually perform the task.
Billy was transferred WIRES carer Jane once he had grown some fur. It was now late August.
This would be his final destination before release estimated to be around March 2014.
Jane was aware of his predicament of having an undershot jaw, he was slowly introduced to solids such as grass whilst still having his formula. At first he did have a lot of trouble eating the grass, it would simple slide through his teeth he was unable to actually eat it. But there was plenty of time, he was still dependant on the formula and only learning how to eat.
Over the next few months Billy started to work on how to eat solids starting with grass, once he mastered that skill he went on to foliage, moss and fungi.
He is now a strapping beautiful Swamp wallaby nearing 5 kilo, he is independent and confident having mastered all tasks he will need to survive in the wild. He is ready for release in about 6 weeks time with another three swamp wallabies, Billy's mates.
Thank you Kate for stopping and giving this beautiful animal a second chance.
Casino vet clinic received a severely injured Sugar Glider into care last year, she had been hit by a car which is of course most unusual considering gliders are tree dwellers and rarely come down on the ground. This female was unfortunately hit whilst gliding across a country road.
Sadly the glider was dead by the time she arrived at the vet, but in her pouch were two little joeys very much alive.
They were taken into care by WIRES carer Kathy, first in intensive care as they were so young their eyes had not yet opened, weighing just 16 gram each. They did well and as their eyes opened, fur grew and they were able to start climbing and foraging their enclosure grew with them until they were finally soft released from a large flight aviary late January
Below are some images showing them as they developed whilst in care.
By Renata & Don
Yesterday was a big day for us as we started the soft release of our three big girls – Electra, Tabby and Kia. These three little ones were particularly special to us as all three had a rocky beginning.
Electra come into care weighing 1080. We were concerned that she may have an injured leg so she was taken to Lismore Vet Clinic where she had an x-ray and was given the all clear – but she was the first we’ve had a picture of “from the inside as well” J
Tabby was our real ‘miracle joey’. She had been with a member of the public for some time, and was badly dehydrated (weighing 1100g). By the time we got her home she was lifeless – almost dead. She spent two days over a weekend in intensive care, we almost lost her a few times, and almost gave up… thank goodness we didn't! And thanks to the wonderful commitment of Elizabeth the vet, who also didn't give up on her, we managed to pull her through to be a happy, healthy young wallaby.
Kia weighing 1395 was brought into Lismore by a police constable’s wife in a Kia car (!!). Kia had been in her dead mum’s pouch for some time on a very hot day, and was fading fast. Again, we needed to do urgent re hydration, and she quickly came around.
These three have been a beautiful, cohesive group, and a privilege to get to know. They taught us a great deal about the resilience of our macropod mates.
Soft release is where the animal is free, but can come back to the enclosure if they feel insecure. Most choose to come back quite often at first. As they venture further afield and gain confidence they come back less frequently and finally not at all, they are free and wild.
This little fellow was lucky that Jo stopped when she saw his mum lying dead on the road as he was still very much alive in her pouch.
He is a Red-Necked pademelon and unfortunately it is not unusual to see them as road kill on Lyons Road at Cougal.
Marsupials joeys can survive for many days after mum has passed away, so please do stop and check the pouch as you may find a little joey just like this little guy.
Jo called WIRES straight away after wrapping him snugly in her jumper.
Dehydration is a big problem when joeys are orphaned, this little fellow was no different however he is now on the road to recovery and will shortly be introduced to other joeys in care thanks to Jo taking action and not just driving past yet another "road kill".
Please stop if you see a dead marsupial on the road and check for a joey. If you find a joey please wrap it snugly and call us straight away. Do not try to feed the joey as they need special formula, most are also in need of intensive care. WIRES members are trained in how to treat orphaned and injured wildlife and so can you be if you wish to join us.
Thank you Tom for calling WIRES when finding this little juvenile Platypus. He was taken straight to Lismore Vet clinic where he was x-rayed. No broken bones were found, but he was extremely dehydrated and under nourished, his body temperature was also very low.
Unfortunately due to his very poor condition he did not survive even though everything was done to save his life.
He was found by Tom and Toms family whilst swimming at Rosebank local swimming hole. The tiny Platypus was lying on the bank wet and unresponsive.
Platypus do not come into care often, when they do it is usually due to floods or at dispersing time when male Platypus leave the water course in search of new territory. This little male was only 250 gram and a long way from having to leave his mothers territory. In fact he should most likely still have been in the burrow dependant on her milk.
How he may have lost mum is a mystery, his body condition however showed that mum may have been gone for some time.
A very sad end for such a beautiful little fellow.
Please be aware that Platypus juveniles may now be leaving their burrows, please look out for any that may be in trouble and ensure when swimming or visiting local water ways that dogs are under observation as these little animals may be sharing the water with you and your pets.
Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals and do not venture out till after dark and they can go about their business under the cover of darkness. This little glider was found by Susan at Casino just after 8am under a tree.
Susan waited with the glider till Melanie from WIRES arrived.
It turned out to be a juvenile female with a nasty gash on its head. So how does a little Sugar glider end up with a gash on its head under a tree?
There can be a few explanations one of which are trying to keep up with mum and falling from a great height and injuring herself on the way down.
Trying to reunite a little glider in a situation like this can be extremely difficult due to not knowing where the colony is located as gliders travel quite some distance in an evening searching for food. If we were to take a little one like this back and let it go we would not be able to catch it again as we would need to if mum was not nearby, it is too young to survive without her.
She will stay in care and join other orphaned Sugar gliders forming a family group. This little group will be released together with their own home being a sugar glider box when old enough to fend for themselves.
Thank you Susan for calling WIRES and saving the life of this precious little glider
Meet Boots the Common Brushtail possum. She is very young but that does not stop her from being a lady with attitude.
Boots was found by Geoff from Kyogle on 12 January, she had somehow been orphaned and was found all alone in Geoff's shed. How lucky for Boots that Geoff is a vigilant person and noticed such a tiny animal weighing only 170 gram, with fine fur not yet fully grown and huge eyes full of fear.
That fear has now been replaced with determination and the will to live.
She will when old enough be introduced to other Common Brushtail possums in care and they will form a family group that will eventually be released back to the wild.
Thank you Geoff for picking up this little lady and for calling WIRES straight away.
Wildlife needs your help.
Join WIRES and become part of a great team dedicated to make a difference.
WIRES Rescue and Immediate care course is taking place at Southern Cross University in Lismore on 15 & 16 February.
This little Red-Necked ...wallaby was orphaned due to a car accident.
That was back in early December when he had no fur and his eyes had only just opened. His fur is now coming through and before long he will be transferred to a large outside enclosure where he will spend time with many other orphans.
They will form a family group and will eventually be released back to the wild.
You may not have time to care for a species like this little fellow, but you may have time to help rescue a little orphan and that could mean the difference between his life or death.
Send us an email with your name, address and phone number and we will send you all relevant details.