Clarey was rescued in January by two council workers. He was found sitting in the middle
of the road near the council depot in Esk. Clarey's eyes were stuck shut with conjunctivitis,
and he also had cystitis. His condition was so poor I didn’t think he stood much chance of
recovery. Usually when their body score is so low it means that they have been sick for a
long time.
We took Clarey down to Moggill Koala Hospital to be examined by the vet. To my delight
it was decided to admit Clarey to hospital. Each time I took a koala down to the hospital, I
checked on Clarey's progress. All was going along well.
Four months later I arrived at the hospital with a sick koala, and there was Clarey waiting to
come home with me. It is such a rewarding experience to be part of returning them to the
wild. I chose a safe spot with good trees close to where Clarey was found to release him.
He looked at me for a minute, then straight up the tree. When I left he was sitting there
looking around as though he had never left.
The ever expanding land clearing for new estates brings with it loss of habitat, more cars
and dogs. It is having a huge impact on our koala population

Koala    koala


Bob, the errant Tawny Frogmouth!

On my return journey from a conference at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the mobile rang and Monica asked if I could rescue a baby tawny frogmouth from a garage roof.  Advising that I would be there shortly, I wondered how, in my stockings and high heels on dusk, this little adventure would pan out.

On arrival, the baby tawny could not be seen anywhere. However, in the now dark sky, I could see Mother Tawny on the roof.  Jason, the homeowner, and I searched the bushes beside the garage and, caught up in the branches was a most beautiful bundle of feather fluff.  Yes, we had found Baby Tawny!  The cutest little critter you could ever see.

Dilemma!  Baby in hand.  Mother on roof.  Bright idea – “Let’s put him high up in the nearby ironbark in an artificial nest so that he can rejoin his family”.  Jason didn’t blink and eyelid but, disappeared into the garage and, after several minutes of furious working produced a magnificent nest house with balcony.  A lovely piece of craftsmanship.

Fortunately for my high heels and stockings, Jason climbed the ladder and placed the nest house next to an excavated termite nest on the side branch of the tree.  I was not sure whether the termite ball was an active home for kookaburras or kingfishers, or an abandoned home.  

Baby Tawny sat happily on the balcony of the nest house. I advised that I still may have to take him into care if he was found on the ground the next morning.  Jason promised to keep a very close watch on him that night and would contact me if problems developed.

Several days passed and I heard nothing.  Assuming all had gone well, I made a mental note to contact Jason.  I was delighted with the following emails:

"We named the little fella "Bob" as he does a lot of shuffling and bobbing around, he is a very fidgety little guy. He is growing very quickly as he is being fed by the kooka family during the day and by his mum at night,He has doubled in size in a week! Bob fell out of the nest house twice,luckily I was there both times and managed to catch him once, but was too far away the second time. He flapped a bit before hitting the dirt, but he still landed with a thud. I was worried about him so kept my distance for a few minutes, need not worry as he is one tough guy, he started walking up the hill so I grabbed him and put him in a box while I made a few alterations to the balcony on his box,then placed him back up there. The next evening we noticed Bob´s family up in their nest (high above the garage) ,mum had Bob´s sister out on the branch doing wing exercises flapping like mad on the spot,then she flew down to Bob and sat with him for a while (just after the Kookas finished feeding him his evening meal), it was funny to watch, she had Bob out on the balcony exercising his wings as well!"

"Bob is not the best at hanging on and just on last light, he flapped a bit too much and away he went into a semi controlled crash into the branch across from him. His mum joined him for most of the night but they were gone in the morning."

"I was just down in the shed half an hour ago and heard a huge thump on the tin roof. I assumed it was a branch because it was a very solid thump, but no, it was Bob, back to his old tricks! He must have made it back up to his family, then fell out again."

"He is really big now,about ½ to3/4 grown and has some adult feathers amongst his baby down. He survived his crash and managed to fly across to the branch where we originally came to his rescue. His tawny family are watching over him at the moment."

Two Months Later:

"Bob is doing very well and, we see him and his family on average, once a week. He is very easy to spot because he is so much bigger than the other birds and he is always "bobbing" and fidgeting,he also comes in close to visit me on occasion,it´s a real treat to have him fly over to see me when I go out to the fence near the clothes line. I managed to get within a few centimetres of him on the last visit and, I put my arm out for him to jump on to, he thought about it for awhile and crouched down like he was going to jump on, but then stood tall and snapped his beak loudly so I moved off. He followed me around the house that night until we both got sick of the stand off!

A couple of weeks later, I received a telephone call from a lady in the same street about a bird they had on their verandah which they put into a box because they weren’t sure what to do.
Eager to satisfy my curiosity, I leapt into the car and was on my way to the familiar street.  Sure enough, you guessed it, guess who..?? Bob, the errant tawny frogmouth!
A phone call later and  Jason was there to retrieve his adoptee.
To this date, all are now living very happy and healthy lives in Fernvale. 

Story and emails reprinted with kind permission from Jason.
Glendell Appleford

Bob and Kooka in new home
Bob and Kooka in new home
Bob being fed by Kooka
Bob being fed by Kooka
Bob recovering
Bob recovering

The Uninvited Guest!

Saturday morning, weather warm and sky clear. Kettle on for an early morning cuppa. Need to feed the kookaburras their thawed mice first, so they too can join in the dawn chorus with their noisy outside companions. Coffee can wait a little while longer.

My thoughts reflected the previous evening, when I had gazed through the aviary wire. They looked so cute with the three of them sitting side by side on the uppermost bough.  It was wonderful to see the blended family now almost ready for release.  Shame it is too dark for a photo, I thought as it is always good to see positive outcomes.  Must let the sheep into this front yard tomorrow though, as the grass has exploded after the rain.  Good to see though.  Shame about the weeds.  Wished it was all lovely grass!

As I opened the door to the aviary, asking the kookaburras if they had a good night’s sleep and were hungry for their breakfast, I was more than a little startled to see they had a visitor!  I decided not to bolt the door behind me as one usually does on entering an aviary.  Tricky!  Don’t want the kookas to self release just yet but, don’t want to box myself in either!

There on the floor of the aviary was a metre or so of beautiful brown snake.  Obviously took a wrong turn somewhere as entering a kookaburra’s territory is never a good idea for a reptile.  Do I go back upstairs for the snake hook and tongs?  Do I just make a quick retreat and leave him to his own fate?  As I reached down to touch his beautifully smooth tail, I realised he was caught in the small square wire of the aviary.  He was well and truly stuck and, the kookaburras seemed very pleased with themselves!

Footnote:  A timely reminder for all carers to be aware of their wildlife and any unexpected “visitors”.  Wherever we have food sources, there is always an opportunist waiting for a feed.  Carpet snakes don’t mind at all, if our own wildlife in care is the food source.  Check aviaries and enclosures so that your wildlife remain as safe as possible while in care.  Now that the weather has warmed, our reptiles are out and about looking for food and “companionship.”
Just remember, they are native wildlife too!

Glendell Appleford  22/09/2007
Brown snake
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