WILVOS care for birds

THERE’S been a lot said and written about the damaging effects from the recent heavy rain and subsequent flooding with our wildlife also feeling the effects.

The Wildlife Volunteers Association Inc (better known as WILVOS) has been operating for almost thirty years on the Sunshine Coast and environs, and committee member Donna Brennan shared that our native wildlife are not immune from the effects of recent heavy rainfall.

“A lot of birds end up waterlogged from the heavy rains and they simply don’t have the uplift to get to a safe place,” said Donna.

“The weather can really disorientate animals and a lot of the times their food source is simply washed away, so of course they go looking for food and sometimes can end up in harm’s way.

Mooloolah Valley-based WILVOS volunteer Simone Bester primarily cares for birdlife and after recently releasing nine pigeons from her care, she is down to just one adult white headed pigeon that was attacked and left without feathers to his tail and one wing.

“He was not in a good way when he first came into my care about a fortnight ago,” Simone said, “but he is healing well and hopefully will be well enough to be released in the coming weeks.”

Simone has been caring for our wildlife for about five years and said that most definitely the most rewarding part of her job is releasing them back into their natural habitat.

While the recent weather has indeed upended the homes of some of our wildlife, both Donna and Simone stress that domestic animals, particularly cats, are one the main causes of birdlife (and other native wildlife) coming into their care. But there are things residents can do to help our wildlife, such as planting native trees and plants to increase their natural food source – just make sure visiting wildlife aren’t met by your pets.

Many people enjoy feeding wildlife, but Simone stresses that people need to be conscious of what they’re feeding birds as it can often do more harm than good.

“Black and white birds in particular are prone to metabolic bone disease which they can get from being fed mince,” Simone explained. “It’s incredibly painful for the birds as it basically makes their bones bendy. Unfortunately most that come into care with the disease don’t make it.”

Thankfully our wildlife have caring people like Donna and Simone, with Simone simply summing up what it means to be a carer by sharing that while she “can’t change the world, I can change the world for that animal.”

Main image: Orphaned Magpie ‘Chicken’ recovered from metabolic bone disease