The Tragic Nest.

  This is a sad story but I’m posting it in the hope I’ll get some replies and learn what to do under similar circumstances in the future.

Magpie-larks are very common in Australia and are also known in English by other names such as “Mudlarks” as well as “Pee-wees”, the latter being my favourite name for them. They are very territorial like other black and white Australian bird species. They usually build beautifully sculptured cup-like, mud nests.

A couple of elderly residents in Toowoomba were enjoying following the progress of a Magpie-lark nest in a tree in their backyard.

The Magpie-larks had been nesting in the same tree successfully almost year-round, for years with the residents accepting their relentless calls and territorial attacks on the windows of the house.

Sadly, in May this year one chick attempting to leave the nest got its leg caught on the outside rim of the nest. The baby bird fluttered and called frantically as it was stuck hanging upside down on the outside of the nest.

About five metres up, the nest was well out of reach for just about any domestic ladder. The elderly residents were distressed but helpless to rescue the struggling bird on their own. They phoned their local veterinarian for advice. The veterinarian in turn gave them phone numbers for various animal carers. They spent the day, a public holiday, calling different phone numbers seeking help. Nobody came.

The little bird died later that night. Its remains still hanging in the very place in which it died.

The residents received a letter from one animal care organisation apologising for being unable to help. Apparently such incidents do happen, especially when birds include man-made materials in the building of the nest. The letter also suggested that a tree surgeon is the best to call. I guess one problem with this idea is that the matter was urgent and it was also a national, public holiday.

I would like to get constructive advice to help the residents in case there are any such occurrences in the future.

The Mudlarks have now built a new nest on the other side of the tree.

Thank you for your help.