Wildlife In Care
These critters are a small selection of the wildlife currently or recently in care at Bohollow....
Tawny Frogmouth Chick
November usually sees the first Tawny frogmouth chicks coming into care at Bohollow and this year, right on time on the 1st November, this little fellow came to us. He was found on the ground with no parents or siblings to be seen and was handed in to the shelter.
He was severely underweight and very weak on arrival so he was fed small amounts very frequently at the beginning. With each feed, he gained strength and by the end of his first day here, he had regained life. Growing quickly, he still is only tiny but is out going and we are very pleased with his progress. As he grows, he will be taught to hunt his own food in preparation to be soft released at our Bunbartha shelter where he can continue to have our support until he is hunting enough food to survive on his own.
Each year, Bohollow usually raises quite a few Tawny frogmouths as they make a very rudimentary nest which consists of basically a few twigs sitting loosely on top of a broad branch. As a consequence, many of the young fall from the nest or in some cases, the whole nest may come down in high winds or heavy rain. We usually raise them in a group but at this stage we only have the one chick this year. The season still has a long way to go and we are not even out of November yet so it will be very unusual if we do not see more of these nestlings coming into the shelter in the very near future.
Released. We only raised a total of two Tawny Frogmouth chicks this season at Bohollow, which is a lower number than usual. They were soft released at our Bunbartha shelter when they reached fledging and were able to hunt on their own.
Spring has sprung and with it so too have the baby birds! Already we have had baby magpies falling from nests and they have had to come into care. Each season Bohollow raises many
Magpies and both shelters share the load to make life easier. All the baby 'Pies', as we affectionately call them, are released in groups according to their age when they are all fledged. They are soft released at both shelters where they can be support fed until they are ready to make their own way. We may have two or three groups each released by the end of the breeding season as Magpies can nest at least a couple of times in a season. Usually the first nestlings come in from September to the end of November then there is usually new nestlings coming into care again around December/January.
We also release in groups as they form groups while they are in care and when released tend to stay in those groups. Magpies are extremely territorial so when we release as a group they do really well as they defend each other against local birds and seem to be more readily accepted into the area, where a lone bird released usually gets picked on and can even be killed by resident groups or pairs.
After release, they often stay at the shelters for many months and we've found that the females tend to take up residency with the local group and stay indefinitely while the young males often leave before the next breeding season but each individual bird is different.
They are delightful birds to raise, full of cheeky character and as they grow are real clowns who love to play and explore their environment.
Released. By the end of the magpie breeding season, we had a large number of magpies which were raised at Bohollow. Both shelters soft released the juveniles in large groups and they have joined the locals and continue to forage and stay around the shelter grounds.
Buddy is a young Brushtail Possum who came into care quite
awhile ago. He was found at the Morning Glory Caravan Park in between Barmah and Moama on the ground. When he initially came into care we did not hold high hopes for his successful release as he was showing classic signs of major brain damage caused by significant head trauma. Over the weeks, which have now turned to a few months, he has continued to slowly improve and we are happy to say that he is now being prepared for soft release at our Kotupna shelter. Deb has put a lot of love, time and dedication into this little guy and it has certainly paid off as his future and second chance at life now looks a lot brighter and we expect him to do really well back out in his natural environment.
Released: Buddy was successfully soft released at our Kotupna shelter.
New Holland Honeyeater
This juvenile honeyeater came into care suffering massive head trauma and concussion. His symptoms were so severe that we feared that he would not pull through. After almost a week in care he has continued to improve in leaps and bounds each day and is eating, although still being handfed. If he keeps picking up at the rate he is currently going, prognosis for this little fellow is really good.
Honeyeaters have really high metabolisms and require continual frequent feeding so are very high maintenance when young until they can feed themselves. Luckily, they grow very quickly and usually self feed when they are still quite young!
Update: Little honeyeater is growing up and now eating on his own. Soon to be released.
This pelican ran into trouble when he hit powerlines and became grounded in a farm paddock due to his injuries. Suffering burns to his big bill, also to one wing and suffering head trauma, he could not stand at all when he was rescued.
He has spent many weeks in intensive care and had to be
propped up with rolled up blankets, kept comfortable on soft bedding with heat provided, as he had terrible balance, and was so unwell. He had to be handfed because his balance was so bad he could not even pick up his own fish. It took him 3 weeks to begin to stand in short bursts and many more to actually start moving around on his feet safely on his own.
Currently, he has been moved to our large waterbird enclosure at our Bunbartha shelter to begin the next stage of his rehabilitation. Although still very wobbly on his feet with bouts of temporary loss of balance, he continues to improve. Exercise is making him stronger and it will take a long time but we are hoping he will make a full recovery. He was so unwell when he first came to Bohollow and his care was so intensive to pull him through his initial injuries. This has caused him to become totally trusting and he understands that he is being helped which makes him a delight to work with.
Released. This big fellow eventually flew out on his own from our Bunbartha shelter to join the flocks of pelicans which were passing overhead daily to feed on a nearby local water course.
Our native ducks are busy nesting
and for the last month or so
ducklings have been seen out and
about. This little duckling was the
first of the season to come into
Bohollow. He was found on his own on a road and his left leg was dragging uselessly behind him. No fractures were detected so we were hoping there was no permanent nerve or tendon damage. After a couple of days in care he started to weight bear on his leg and third day in he was bouncing in his lightbox! We can raise lone ducklings without any issues but it is always nice for them to grow up and be released with company. He didn't have to wait too long. Only a few days after he came into care, another, newly hatched, Wood duckling came into the shelter. The next week there were four more!! They are still inside under heat at the moment but time frame from hatching to fledging is only eight weeks so they grew amazingly quickly, as all birds do! The next stage will be to move outside then about a week before flying they will be soft released at our Bunbartha shelter where they can find their wings and come and go as they please until they're ready to find their own way in the world.
Update: All the Wood ducklings that were raised at Bohollow this year have been released and eventually stopped coming back to the shelter grounds. All up this season, well over 50 ducklings were raised and released at Bohollow.
Bugsy is a baby Ringtail possum who was found in Echuca
on the ground, alone, cold and hungry. He was handed into a vet who then rang us for help. When he was picked up he was still very cold despite being placed on heat at the vet clinic until we could get there. Once warmed up again, Bugsy took to drinking his milk eagerly and hasn't looked back. Many baby possums have come into care at Bohollow this year and we have had to distribute many of them to other carers as the workload would have been impossible for Deb to manage on her own. Bugsy is one who has stayed with us and will be raised and soft released at our Kotupna shelter along with the other ringtails we have in care.
Pacific Black Duckling
The first Pacific black duckling for the season and at this stage, the only black duck which has come in. He is the odd one out of the Wood ducklings and Shelducklings which are being raised at Bohollow at the moment. He came in with his egg tooth still present so wasn't long hatched out of the egg. Often, late eggs hatch after the mother has left with the rest of the clutch and they are found on their own. He is doing really well and is being raised with two Wood ducklings who are roughly the same size.
Update: Many ducklings were raised and released at Bohollow this season. Over fifty in all!! The last large group of Pacific Black ducklings are starting to fly but still remain on the shelter grounds. At the start of the season, it was predominantly Wood ducklings who were coming in as orphans to the shelter but the last half of the season has seen mostly Pacific Black ducklings.