Kookaburras forced to find another "home"

Article written by L and T Benbrook Feb 2012 - photos courtesy of "Michelle"

As the environment continues to be decimated, our wildlife is forced to "make do"! The following story of a Kookaburra brood is one that shows the desperation (and therefore stress) on the part of our wildlife, and should have the "powers-that-be" taking notice! The signs for our environment are not all that rosy.

This Summer has been tough on our carers as more and more Kookaburras are in need of help. Their nesting style is way different to most other birds that simply build a new nest each year. Kookies don't do that. They nest in tree hollows and/or termite mounds high up in the trees. This means they can't "build" a new one as required, and not every tree has a hollow, nor a termite mound.

Also, Kookaburra groups have a territory that they defend as their "home turf". Now,this home turf can be just a few acres - and, in any suburban area, many things can change, and QUICKLY - like, trees being felled for a variety of reasons. So, if this happens to a Kookaburra group, and their one and only nesting tree falls to development, what do they do?? What CAN they do, except seek out another hollow in their area. Any hollow, despite its drawbacks.

This story is of one such Kookie pair who were forced to use a "hollow" that was way too low (just 2 metres up) to be safe from cats and other predators. And, once the youngsters later decided to "come to ground", they would be just a few metres from an in-ground pool.

All in all, a tree hollow 7 - 8 metres above the ground would have been better for them, and far more natural.

Fortunately, the Kookie parents chose Michelle's house to set up shop. She and her family decided to keep watch as one of Nature's miracles happened before their eyes.

Michelle took photos every week or so, documenting an event that very few people are privileged to witness. The female laid three eggs (about usual for Kookies), one of which did not hatch. The other two (shown below) made it past 4 weeks, but, nearer fledging, one dropped from the "nest", straight onto a piece of river rock, and died.

The last one survived and came to ground successfully, whereupon it gaily hopped around on the path leading to the pool. This kept Michelle's family busy, keeping a vigilant eye on its progress and safety. The problem came when they took a weekend holiday (planned months before).

Michelle called BIRO, and expressed her concerns re the remaining Kookie chick and its safety, and asked for advice. To have the chick come into care was not the desired option, as the parents were looking after its needs very well. In the end, Pat (one of our carers who lived nearby), offered to visit regularly until Michelle and family arrived home again and resumed their protective role.

Michelle thanked BIRO profusely for our help, but she also deserves thanks for being so accepting of wildlife's needs.

Fast forward a month or two. . .

Michelle's recent update tells us that the sole Kookie chick has now successfully fledged, joined its family high in the remaining trees, and is once more safe from most predators. Seems like this plant pot is now the new nesting home for this Kookie family.

I just hope Michelle doesn't decide to USE the plant pot for a fern next year! !

The moral of the story is this - are we condemning our wildlife to an "artificial future" by removing more and more trees? More than that, if the previous answer is Yes, what will we rely on to provide oxygen into the future? Think about it!!