Returning to the nest

Returning to the nest

Welcoming family home for Christmas.

We often talk about what it means to welcome wild birds into the family. What better time to think about what this actually means than the holiday season, when many kiwi families are flying back to reunite with their loved ones?

Sometimes it can be bittersweet welcoming regular visitors to your garden while knowing they will leave you to travel out through the world. Nests can provide wonderful views of growing babies and doting parents – but so too can they be the scene of tragedy as hatchlings struggle to leave the nest.

Strong winds at this time of year can cause all kinds of chaos up in the trees, where unstable nests and unsteady fledglings see many young birds fall to the ground. When this occurs they’re at far more risk from roaming predators than at any other time.

One of our regular customers in Christchurch noticed such an event after a recent storm.

Two fledglings had fallen from the nest after a storm. The watchful couple thought, given the number of local cats, that they would not see them for long. They set up extra food within easy reach for the now grounded birds and waited to see if their parents could help.

Over the coming days the cats miraculously stayed away (perhaps due to the nearby chickens), and both the mother and father took turns feeding the fledglings.

“Between the Topflite food and the now open compost bins the entire family is now thriving,” says the customer. “They’re even now feeding with the family’s chickens, which is very brave indeed.”

With the growth of their feathers and strengthening of their wings the fledglings are now flying back into the trees again. It’s a great result and one the couple are happy to share with these photos.

Their reaction to the fallen birds was the best way of dealing with these incidents. Yes, our wild birds need to live their most natural lives. But with so many problems caused by humanity, from pollution to loss of habitats to the introduction of predators, the onus is still on us all to do what we can to protect and enhance the natural environment around us.

If in doubt, follow the chart here, plant trees, make bug hotels and serve up some yummy treats for the local birds. They’ll love you for it.