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May 18, 2021

Local bird-lover swoops in to save abandoned magpie chicks

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WIRES volunteers and a keen-eyed local have saved the lives of two Magpie chicks whose nest fell from a tree in Ballina last week.

Local woman Sandy saw the nest fall from the tall Palm tree during a period of strong wind gusts.

Magpie chicks. Image supplied

She attempted to reunite the Magpies with their parents, putting the nest up as high as she could in a nearby bush.

The adult birds fed their chicks but abandoned the nest on dusk, raising the very real possibility that they wouldn’t survive the night without their parents to keep them warm.

Sandy brought them inside and placed them under a heat source.

When WIRES was called the next day the Magpie chicks were alive but not alert, with one of the chicks weighing one
third of its two siblings.

Sadly, it died soon after.

‘After two days in care the two remaining chicks were ready to attempt another reunite,’ WIRES Northern Rivers’ spokesperson Ranata Phelps said.

‘Unfortunately it was too late as these adult Magpies had started building another nest. Once they do this any previous chicks are forgotten.’

‘These two Magpie chicks will need to be raised in WIRES care and soft released once independent.’

Ms Phelps said that, one week on, the two magpie chicks were thriving and always hungry.

She said Magpie parents had a huge job keeping food up to their chicks in order to raise healthy birds. WIRES volunteers are working hard feeding the growing chicks – along with several other magpie chicks that have since come into care.

‘Magpie parents also protect their babies with passion,’ she said.

‘And this is the reason why magpies swoop – they are protecting their eggs and chicks while they are in the nest – a period that lasts approximately 6-7 weeks. Only some birds see people as a threat – most magpies will not swoop.’

To reduce your chances of being swooped National Parks and Wildlife Service recommend that you:
– Don’t provoke them or throw things
– Walk through the magpie’s territory quickly but don’t run, or take another route during the swooping period
– Wear a hat and glasses or carry an umbrella
– Watch the magpie. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them

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