For useful information on native birds, below are some information sheets:-

Any bird that is sick or injured will need veterinary treatment. If a baby bird has fallen from a nest and is uninjured the first option is to return it to the nest and observe it for a period of time to ensure that the mother feeds it.

For comprehensive information on native birds and to ensure the correct outcome for each situation, please read the following information.

Baby Bird Information

Download our Baby Bird Poster with instructions on how to help our native baby birds and to create a make-shift nest. This poster is designed to be printed on A3 paper but can also be printed on A4.

Download our Helping Native Baby Bird information brochure.

Need more information on baby birds? Please telephone the WILDCARE hotline on 07 5527 2444.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer rehabilitator and caring for native birds, listed below is some information that will assist you.

Basic Equipment for Fostering and Rescuing Birds

  • Gloves
  • Assorted cardboard boxes
  • Pet carrier or cages
  • Aviary
  • Feather dusters
  • Clean towels
  • Hot water bottles
  • Lamp with coloured bulbs (25 and 40 watts)
  • A good bird field guide for identification
  • Spark®
  • Wombaroo First Aid for Birds®
  • Calcium powder (Balanced Cal®)
  • Disposal syringes
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Indoor/outdoor digital thermometer with a probe
  • Small containers for food and water.
  • Crop needles of various sizes for feeding and medicating
  • Assorted size branches for perches.
  • Scales for weighing of food and the birds.

Rescue Techniques

Transporting:

The best way to transport a bird is in a cardboard box with air holes for ventilation, with a clean towel on the bottom to stop the bird from slipping around in the box. Once the bird is enclosed it should settle down, minimizing feather damage that can occur in an open wire cage or carry basket. It is preferable not to transport birds after dark, but if it is unavoidable, then catch the bird and put it in the box before it gets dark.

Handling:

Always remember that you are picking up a wild creature. Perform and initial assessment and if possible identify the bird when you get to the rescue site.

How active is the bird? Are there are any obvious injuries? Does it need urgent medical attention?

Identifying the species at the rescue site will enable you to handle the bird correctly, reducing the risk of injury to both the bird and yourself in the process. With some birds you only need to be aware of the beak (e.g. kookaburras and herons), with others you have to be aware of the beak and claws (e.g. magpies, noisy minors).

If you are not confident about picking up a bird or are unsure of the species, use a towel to wrap around it, making sure you enclose the head and feet, keep the feet well away from your hands and arms and place it in the box.

Be extremely careful when handling water birds, as they can lash out at your face quicker than you can react. Grab hold of the beak before trying to pick them up.

Be aware that even baby birds are afraid of us so do not handle a bird more than necessary.

Keep your bird in a quiet place until you can assess any injuries safely. Passing around a baby bird for children or friends to see is unacceptable. These are not pets so do not treat them as such.

Keep the bird isolated to avoid spreading disease to other birds and never put your birds near or around domestic pets.

Natural Diets for Bird

Granivores: Quails, parrots, doves, pigeons and finches
Natural diet: Insects, fruits, berries, nuts off trees and shrubs, grass seeds and grain

Nectivores: Lorikeets, friarbirds, honeyeaters and noisy miners
Natural diet: Native flowers, nectar, pollen, insects, soft fruits and berries

Carnivores: Kookaburras, magpies, tawny frogmouths, butcherbirds
Natural diet: Lizards, moths, mice, rats, cockroaches, crickets, reptiles, frogs, small snakes, beetles and grasshoppers

Insectivores: Silvereyes, swallows, willy wagtails, drongos and cuckoos
Natural diet: Insects, moths, flies, beetles, spiders, worms and grasshoppers

Frugivores: Figbirds, orioles, bowerbirds
Natural diet: Insects, native berries and fruits

Waders: Herons, plovers, ibis, swamphens, moorhens
Natural diet: Insects, small fish and reptiles (herons, plovers and ibis) Insects, worms, plant matter and seeds (swamphens and moorhens)

Ducks:
Natural diet: Grasses, seeds, insects and worms

Cages and Aviaries

A correct size cage is the most important factor to consider when housing any bird. If the cage is too small or restrictive this can result in unnecessary stress and feather damage to your bird, delaying release in most cases. Hand-raised birds or adults that have been in care longer than a few days, will need to be placed into an aviary for flight practice before release.

General cleaning and maintenance such as disinfecting cages, changing floors and replacing perches must be carried out on a regular basis. Once the bird has been released the cage must be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water and sprayed with F10® or a similar disinfectant. Perches should be changed regularly and if using sand or dirt on the aviary floor it will need to be disposed of after each patient. All feeding equipment should be soaked in F10® or similar for 30 minutes and cleaned thoroughly after each use.

The position of your food dishes will depend on which species of bird you are housing. Canopy feeding birds such as lorikeets, currawongs, figbirds, cuckoo-shrikes and silvereyes must never be fed on the ground while ground dwellers must never be fed in the canopy. Ground dwellers include magpies, kookaburras, and galahs. Make sure that fresh water is available for drinking and bathing at all times.

An aviary is essential for any bird before release or for when babies are beginning to fledge and wanting to fly. If you are able to install an aviary on your property it is important to make sure that you get the right size for the species in your care, certain species require specific length and height requirements. Some species must never be housed together.

Important Points to Remember

  • Always maintain good hygiene habits. Clean out all cages and perches daily.
  • Always try to find out where your bird was found as with the release of some species, this information is vital.
  • Always make a note of any treatment and medication that your bird receives at the vet, and follow the directions carefully.
  • Always remember that not all birds have a crop, identify your bird before you start feeding it to work out how often it should be fed.
  • Always use insectivore rearing mix as a supplement only and only add it to meat (mince or ox heart) or sparingly over food – never as a slurry.
  • Never give fluids (glucose and water) to birds until its injuries have been assessed.
  • Never try to give oral fluids or food to a bird with trauma injuries (concussion, internal injuries and shock) or if the bird is vomiting or coughing.
  • Never open the bird’s beak from the tip, always open it by putting fingers either side of the beak at the back in front of the jaw and gently prize open.
  • Never feed milk to birds.
  • Never pour water down a bird’s beak.
  • Never feed a cold bird, always warm it up first – both adults and babies.
  • Never release a bird unless others of its own species are in the area (except for solitary species).
  • Never release a migratory bird out of season. (Get to know arrival and departure dates of migratory birds)
  • Never keep wild and domestic birds, birds and mammals and birds and reptiles together.
  • Never care for bird species if you do not have the necessary time and/or equipment required. Some baby bird species can require feeding every 15 minutes to 2 hourly.