In any given year,
Victoria's Wildlife Shelters receive thousands
of calls. Especially during Spring and Summer
months, most shelters are inundated with
orphaned birds and animals. Unfortunately,
many of these - particularly young magpies and
wild ducklings - are rescued by well meaning
Some basic guidelines designed to assist in
determining if an animal or bird is in need of
help are as follows:-
Unless the animal is obviously injured or in
immediate danger (i.e. cars, cats, or dogs),
take some time to observe. Is it acting
normally? Are the parents nearby? Often,
newly fledged magpies, known as "Branchers" in
some parts of the country, are left in a given
area to explore while the parents gather food.
While they may appear to be abandoned, Mum
or Dad is usually not far away and probably
watching you. Native ducks with ducklings
often stop to rest in backyard pools and only
need for you to ensure they are not disturbed or
frightened until they decide to move on.
Provision of a ramp (such as a kickboard) or
other means for the ducklings to enter or exit
the pool are very helpful.
However, there are other situations when a quick
response can save a life. For example - baby
birds that are not fully feathered or are unable
to fly should not be on the ground. A possum
on the ground during daylight hours is almost
always in trouble as well as any other marsupial
that is obviously too young to be separated from
its Mum. These creatures should be placed in
a dark box, kept warm and quiet and your local
rescue organisation, wildlife shelter or
wildlife authority contacted.
If you are unsure whether to intervene, or would
like more information on ways to help out, if
you are in the Australia state of Victoria, you
can call the Wildline on 0500 540 000 - 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week or if you are in the
vicinity of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria
you can call the Killara Wildlife Rescue and
Shelter on (03) 5983 8291, 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.
Remember, your safety is always paramount.
If you are not confident that you can rescue
the animal without putting yourself in harm's
way, contact either Killara or the Wildline and
a trained rescuer will be dispatched to assist
you, and remember – these creatures don’t live
in our backyard, we live in theirs!