Wild winds leave 1 000s of baby birds homeless

2007-12-22 00:00

The Centre for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (Crow) has been inundated with baby birds, thanks to freak storms and heavy winds over the past two months, says Dr Helena Fitchat, its director.

Fitchat says that the annual “baby bird season”, which usually runs from October to March, has started two months earlier this year.

More birds than usual are being brought to the organisation’s Yellowwood Park centre.

Fitchat says that this year’s baby bird count is expected to far exceed the usual average of between 2 000 and 2 500 fledglings.

Fitchat says that while heavy rains are not a problem — bird parents manage to shelter their young during downpours — strong winds mean that babies often fall from flimsy nests. She says doves and hadedahs are the most common casualties as parent birds make very rudimentary nests that offer little protection.

However, bad weather is not the only problem when it comes to rescuing baby birds, she adds.

She says people seem to revamp their gardens while on leave. This includes chopping down trees. Not only birds, but young genets and bush babies are often killed in the process.

“The general public should not cut down anything in the garden at this time of year because birds and other small creatures are nesting. If you have to, wait for autumn or winter. So many creatures are killed by thoughtlessness,” she said.

Fitchat said another problem is the breaking of the nests of swallows and swifts because people do not want them nesting on verandahs. She adds that feral cats and dogs are doing “horrific damage” to wild bird populations.

Fitchat asks people who find baby birds to call Crow, which is open every day, including Christmas.

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