originally posted Jan 1st 2013
Last Dec 2012 we had a new unexpected arrival to our flight aviary. Chu and Man were obviously very happy in there and Chu laid eggs which 1 at least was fertilised and out popped young Fu. Named after our old bird Fu who died of old age some weeks before. I can’t say they were great parents but did their best. They were certainly feeding him but as we really didn’t want to breed caged birds (these are unable to be released and came into care as unwanted pets) we hadn’t provided them with a breeding box . They did follow their natural instincts and mad a nest in a log but neglected to keep it clean. The nest actually collapsed and out fell young Fu. We took him in and raised him then returned with mum and dad.
Raising a cockatiel to independence takes about 7weeks. We had a friend staying with us from Sydney who was a great baby bird sitter! he spent many hours on the back verandah watching the wildlife and introducing young Fu to the outdoors .
Fu almost fully feathered
best bird sitter and Fu
We had an adult female kookaburra in care. She had damaged a small bone in her wing and had not been able to fly and catch food .She was on the road and picked up by a kind young man on his way to work who took her to the local vet in town who then called to see if we might be able to help. She was very thin so we put her in a small shade cloth cage to rest ,gave her a course of antibiotics and began offering her mice to eat. She ate well, got her strength back and while that was happening the small bone calcified and mended and we were able to release her. Kookaburras are part of their own family group and have a territory so you should always ask where they were picked up from and release the bird to the same place so it can reunite with it’s family.
We also had a young raven which we found on the ground on our way back from town .Only in care for a few days. It seems that he had a collision in strong winds and had suffered some minor concussion. He was also fine and released.
originally posted November 4th 2012
It’s been a while since I updated but having a baby kangaroo is keeping me busy.My sister has been over from NZ for a visit which I really enjoyed. She is an animal lover and was great helping with Bozo.
We made a papoose while she was here and he loves to be carried around in that. Bozo out grew his play pen so Larry has built him a small pen that he goes into for safety when we have to go into town.
It has a shade cloth roof to keep him cool but also to stop any wedge tail eagles from swooping down for a yummy meal as baby roos are a favourite food! It has a shelter part at the back and he sleeps out the at night in his bag (substitute mum’s pouch) Bozo’s weight was aprox 1625 grams when we found him in his dead mum’s pouch. He is now aprox 3200 grams.
Bozo in his pouch learning about the great outdoors!
originally posted October 21st 2012
We have about 4 swallows nests around the house and the babies are all out now and learning to catch food on the wing. Adult swallows have a very busy life when they are feeding their young. All you see when watching the nests is constant open becks! It was a good learning experience watching the developments day by day.
nest up above our front door – mum swallow sitting on her eggs
swallows first flight
We have been getting our vegetable garden going and at last things are starting to grow. We have been eating lots of radishes and lettuce while waiting for everything else! Also trial and error with many plants trying to find out what grows well here. Our bottle brush bushes are out in flower and attracting quite a few friar birds. Always something to learn .I didn’t know that friar birds were nectar eaters but they obviously are. The Casuarina Cockatoos
male casuirina cockatoo
female casuarina cockatoo
yellow tailed cockatoos
are around constantly and we have also seen a couple of brush-tail wallabies in the past week .It’s good to know that we have endangered species around here .We have also sighted a couple of flocks of yellow tail cockatoos in the past month which I was delighted about as I used to love seeing them flying overhead in Sydney and I didn’t think they were around here.
Endangered Brush- tailed Rock Wallaby
originally posted 13th Sep 2012
A couple of weeks ago while driving into town we came across a road kill. A kangaroo hit by a car with a head injury. Larry stopped to move the body off the road and we found it was a female eastern grey with a baby in pouch. The baby was not injured so we wrapped him up and bought him home. He is about 6-7mths old ,fully furred and just popping his head out of the pouch looking around. I had some emergency milk formula at home so once we got him warmed up I gave him some. He is coming along well and now has put on some weight and taking his food O.K. Eastern Greys have to be part of a group so I shall have to make some enquires to try and find him a buddy.
feeding little Bozo
originally posted 13th September 2012
furnishing the flight aviary
The flight aviary is finished apart from some cosmetic outside painting which I’m doing in dribs & drabs in between other things. Our cockatiels love the big space and much to our surprise made a nest and laid some eggs which are fertile as a couple of mornings ago I put my eye to the small hole at the bottom of the log and a bird was hatching! Mani ,the male, is very protective and will let us know he means business when we get to close. Chu is taking it all very calmly. There were 2 eggs and we don’t know yet if the other has hatched. We have contacted our bird vet in Sydney and let them know we are now able to take some birds which need a home but can’t be released and also birds endemic to this area for rehab if they are suitable for a wire aviary. We have designed the aviary so it can still be used as two areas if need be. Sadly, Fu ,who was the old bird died a couple of days ago of natural causes, old age! At least we know he had some time with us that was O.K.
flight aviary finished
Chu trying out the furniture
We would also like to build a raptor aviary but that project will be down the track a bit.. Raptors have to kept in a soft aviary otherwise they damage their feathers and they have to be 100% for flight when catching prey.
originally posted August 1st 2012
Finally we have almost got the flight aviary built. It will be wonderful to have it finished so we can offer surrendered birds that can’t be released for whatever reason but to healthy to be euthanized a nice home. We have it constructed so it can be divided into 2 if need be which gives us more options when taking native birds that will be released but have interim injury. The 3 cockatiels that we already have which went from a large cage to a small aviary then to a large aviary will be in heaven when they have all this added space. Ideally no aviary is the best but not always an option unfortunately. Fu is an old male bird that came to us from “Let the Birds Fly Free’ an organisation that takes in surrendered birds and re homes them .We have no background on him but we know that he doesn’t like to be handled but does take to some people and lands on their heads randomly if he feels like it!
My brother-in-law Roger provided a good landing platform!
Chu was left at the back of a vet in Marrickville Sydney with her left wing so badly clipped in two places through the vein and bleeding badly.We wondered if she was ever going to recover. It’s hard to believe that someone could do this to a bird. After lots of TLC she did recover and grew back her wings feathers and she flies beautifully .She is now a happy bird. Man came to us through our bird vet Alex Rosenwax . His owner had died and he had been left in the care of someone who just didn’t know what to do. He was surrendered to Alex who didn’t hold that much hope for him but Alex always tries to save an animal if possible. Man had a severe case of Giardia , microscopic motile organisms commonly found in birds in Sydney. The symptoms are diarrhoea ,weight loss, dry skin and feather picking. He had his tail feathers and a few wing feathers left and could still fly. He was suffering from depression .The outcome for cockatiels and budgies is death if left untreated We took him on and under instructions from Alex administered his treatment which was eventually 100% successful!
building the flight aviary
Mani when we first took him in.
We have made good progress with the control of tiger pear. I received a small grant to help with purchase of the sprayers and toxin which has been very helpful. We are also making some progress with the clearing of other introduced plants that are a pest in the Australian bush.
We have been seeing endangered Casuarina Cockatoos flying over head regularly for the past couple of months. Mostly we see 2 but we have seen 6 in flight together.1 couple have stopped on house paddock to eat some casuarina off a small tree and we were able to photograph them.
The female has the yellow throat.
originally posted June 13th 2012
The snakes have gone into hibernation for the winter. The wombats are coming out earlier. Saw a big beautiful adult in great condition at dusk a couple of days ago. Larry managed to get the old ferguson tractor going and slashed our flat paddocks before winter set in. The grazing animals are loving it and the paddocks are full of roos and wallabies when I when I go for my early morning walk. We have 3 resident Wedge Tail Eagles that give us a flight show nearly every day at the moment .It never fails to mesmerise me and I can’t believe how high they soar.We also have a Sea Eagle visiting so the river must be good fishing currently
sea eagle visit
poor cold little finch
We were bought a yellow breasted finch that had fallen into a tub of water and couldn’t get out .He was wet and cold but we revived him overnight keeping him nice and warm in a container by the fire ,gave him a teat flight in the lounge the next morning and then released him back where he came from making sure the outside tub had a climbing perch in it!
mum and babies
We have had some new additions ,not native but very welcome. Our rooster who we call “Handsome” who is also very nice natured ,treats the hens with respect and was also born here has had some babies with “Little Black Hen” who is a really good mother.
mum taking babies for a walk
A couple of months ago I applied for a small grant to assist with some equipment to start removing tiger pear from the property.
I had a successful outcome so that is now an ongoing task. We spray some and dig some out by the roots .We have iron rectangle enclosures that Larry has constructed .The tiger pear gets put in to these which have a cochineal bug living in there which feeds exclusively on tiger pear. This was introduced by NPWS to help land owners dispose of the pest. Some of it we burn .Tiger pear is an invasive pest, It was bought into the Hunter region many years ago by someone who thought it looked “nice” It is now spread through the Goulburn river NP and peoples properties and is a dreadful thing to get rid of. We can get some control over it but I believe eradication would be impossible unless everyone was constantly working at it
Chris posing for a write up in the Muswellbrook evening paper.
Larry spraying tiger pear in the grazing paddocks
originally posted April 17th 2012
It’s been a while since you heard from me but we have been busy! Things are moving along now and we are working on control of tiger pear and thistles………a never ending chore but very rewarding once you see that progress happening.
We have spotted quite a few barking geckos and got a photo of this young one. They grow up to about 15cm from the snout – tail tip.
We have the materials for our large flight aviary now delivered and Larry is starting on that this week. The truck that did the delivery managed to get bogged about 1k away from the property and that was a days work for Larry and one of neighbours helping the truck driver jack up the truck and digging out around the wheels! Such is life out here sometimes.
There are quite a few snakes around at the moment. They are stocking up on some
food getting ready to go into hibernation for the winter months. We see mainly death adders and eastern browns. Larry moved a large adder out of our house paddock the other day and we got a good photo of him. Our dog Misty found him and she very wisely quickly stepped back !
We spotted a brown snake going into the chicken pen but he emerged and headed off down the hillside much to our relief as they don’t like feeling that you have them hemmed in and that’s when they are likely to strike.
Originally posted March 13th 2012
It seems like 5 minutes! It’s very easy to sit on the veranda and just look out over the river and hillside watching the birds and marsupials for hours. We watched a pair of wedge-tailed eagles hunting the other day ,a great sight. We also see sea eagles here hunting fish out of the river. Larry snapped this one flying between our veranda and the river.
visiting sea eagle
At the moment the conditions are favourable and food is plentiful so all the wildlife is really healthy. The recent rain drove the river up a good 30 ft which was sight I haven’t witnessed before. It happens very quickly. The force of nature is very powerful and it was something to see our small river turn into a raging torrent taking trees along with it and anything else in it’s path. We were unable to use our road, or goat track as I call it for about 4 days, but had plenty of supplies here. It’s so good to see so many healthy wombats without mange so we are hoping the favourable conditions will continue with steady rain rather than the erratic we have just had. We felt very sorry for all the people that got flooded and hope they don’t have a repeat anytime soon. It must be devastating and so difficult to recover from. The frogs of course have loved all the rain and there are lots around which is good sign.
green tree frog in garden
We are starting to get organised and work will begin on the large bird avairy hopefully next month.
Originally posted on February 20th 2012
Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to move my blog to a new server but was unable to move the posts over. I will attempt to recreate our developments for those of you are new to the blog.
Misty hiding from the storm
Misty in favourite pastime- earned privilege which comes with being a 14yr old
also favourite pastime of 20yrs+ puss
It seems like 5 mins but we have been here for 12 days today. There is so much to be done it almost feels overwhelming but just to sit on the veranda and listen to the birds with no other sounds is a glorious feeling. That’s not to say that it’s always tranquil. Last night we had a storm which I found quite scary. Larry opened his eyes when I poked him in the ribs then snored all the way through it! The thunder is so loud when your just one house surrounded by wilderness. I guess I will get used to it. The lightning lights up the whole house. The dog “Misty” finds it scary and she goes into the walk-in wardrobe as it’s the smallest space she can lie down in. She is 14yrs old. The 19yr old cat “Feather” took it in stride .It was a big move for her. This is not a place I would really have a cat but when you have had a cat for 19yrs she is part of the family so anything other than bringing her would be unthinkable .She loves the big house and is quite happy just to come out on the veranda with us when we are out there. We have to be very careful as the goannas here are about 3 feet long and puss doesn’t know about them and could get crunched or she could sniff a snake close up and personal !! Not a nice way to go after making it to 19 which in human yrs is 181.The rescued cockatiels from Sydney Fu, Man and Chu think they are in bird heaven now in a large aviary flying with lots of other birds around them. A couple of days ago I saw my first Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby which is now a threatened species. It’s incredible as once you see one you can’t mistake it with any other. The colour is gorgeous and the tail magnificent .They have a majestic way of moving. Larry has seen some and has told me but seeing one made me realise how special they are. Larry took these images.
Brush- tailed Rock Wallaby
Everything is green so the grazing animals are looking really healthy.The wombats are coming out at night as they should and we are not seeing mange ones out during the day at the moment but they are around .I saw a fox a couple of days ago on my early morning walk.They really are beautiful creatures but not good for our native species to have around. In their natural environment I hope they are cared for.
Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby
There is a lot of organising to be done so I better get on with it .