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WIRES Assists in Cattle Egret Disaster

Wires Northern Rivers

WIRES Assists in Cattle Egret Disaster

The severe storms that ripped across north eastern NSW just before Christmas caused havoc within a Cattle Egret breeding colony at Lawrence near Grafton.  Local resident Elizabeth checked the colony when the storm had passed and found countless chicks had been blown to the ground.

Cattle Egrets build their nests in large colonies, high in trees near waterways with the parent birds attending their own chicks. Elizabeth soon realised the task was going to monumental and called WIRES Clarence Valley for help. She kindly opened her home to be the main hub of this disaster.

Wires Northern Rivers

The next morning there were close to 300 chicks rescued. All of differing ages and had been grouped in containers and boxes with labels of which tree they were found near.

Melanie and Julie from Wires Northern Rivers travelled down to Lawrence to help CV members with the huge task of rehydrating and assessing every chick. Throughout the day, badly injured chicks were taken to the vet and the oldest chicks who were perching well where placed back high in their trees. Some chicks were able be reunited in substitute nests.  All chicks were tube fed again and by the end of the day there were still approximately 100 chicks needing to come into care.

Carers from Clarence Valley and Mid North Coast, together with Northern Rivers bird carers Melanie, Julie, Katy, Jodie, Artemis, Marion and Hanna all took chicks into care.  Thirty-three (33) chicks came to Northern Rivers – and what smelly, hungry little chicks they are! Sadly, over the next few days and weeks some chicks showed they had underlying injuries, but a total of 26 healthy young chicks have thrived.

The chicks are now of the age where they need more room so have been transferred to Melanie’s aviaries. They are set up in their separate groups on nest platforms. A ‘jungle gym’ of branches has been built to encourage them to clamber about and exercise, just as they would be doing in the wild. When they are about 8 weeks old and flying they will be released back into the colony at Lawrence.

Wires Northern Rivers

The chicks are now of the age where they need more room so have been transferred to Melanie’s aviaries. They are set up in their separate groups on nest platforms. A ‘jungle gym’ of branches has been built to encourage them to clamber about and exercise, just as they would be doing in the wild. When they are about 8 weeks old and flying they will be released back into the colony at Lawrence.

This tragic loss of life this would have been so much worse if not for the coordinated efforts of our amazing WIRES volunteers.

If you are keen to make a difference for the wildlife in our area, consider joining WIRES. Now is a great time to join since their next workshop will be held in Lismore on February 23rd and there is time beforehand to complete the online part of the course. For more information about how you can join and contribute call 66281898.

An all-volunteer organisation, WIRES relies heavily on the generosity of caring people for support. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible. Now is also a great time to join WIRES and start learning to be a wildlife rescuer. Our 24-hour hotline is for all rescue, advice or membership calls in the Northern Rivers – call 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.

Wires Northern Rivers

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