A Bird In The Hand and A Bird In The Bush
by Di Swift
Just over 3 weeks ago Bob was coming back from Biloela and straddled a scaly breasted lorikeet in the truck, he looked back in the mirror and stopped as soon as he could (doing 100kms/hr) and ran back (before another car or truck came closer).
Fortunately, the bird was ok, but Bob could see it could hardly fly and had hurt its leg, either by falling from nest (wild winds that day) or trying to grip bitumen as Bob drove over the top of it...anyway, he picked it up, put it in a box with tissues and brought it home (early birthday pressie for me....).
He tried giving it at least water for the 4 hour trip home, but it wouldn't take anything. I went down to shops and bought a syringe and eyedropper. It took to both as soon as Bob got home -one with water, one with lorikeet mix - it was starving! We took her to the vet as her leg wasn't getting any better. The vet put her on an anti-inflammatory for a week and she's using it now, still a little lame sometimes but the vet said it would take 2 to 3 weeks, but it is 100% better than what it was.
We have named him/her (but we say she) Desi, she's adorable.
We thought she was about 8 weeks or so, but we're coming on 4 weeks of having her on Tuesday and her beak isn't bright orange yet, bottom is orangey and top beak is showing signs of orange....so maybe she was only about 6 or 7 weeks. We've been reading a lot and by the sounds of it, their beak is fully orange by 12 weeks (click here to see pics/story of adult lorikeets).
Lo and behold my neighbour a couple of doors down come running up to me yesterday morning, saying
"Di, Di help! You're the bird lady".
I don't want other birds to attack it or cats get it!
So I went to her house, there was Mumma magpie (and Papa whom we've never met until now or hadn't realised he was feeding with Mumma) close by in the trees. The baby ended up leaving my neighbours and crossing the road, with us watching out for cars of course....went to the house across the street and perched itself under a tree for a couple of hours, again with mum and dad close by...about mid morning it was out on the road again, so I stayed behind it helping it cross safely and guiding it into our yard....Mumma and Papa feeding her and she's taken some from me too (all very exciting). Anyway come 5.30pm or so no sign of Mumma or Papa, we didn't know what to do....we kept going out every half hour or so and checking it....we didn't know whether to intervene or leave it, but we didn't want the stray cats around to get it through the night.....so we placed a crate over her to keep her safe outside. I set my alarm for 5am and removed it just as Mumma was coming to check on her baby, which we have named Tootsie. Mumma and Papa still seem to be taking food away with them, so we're wondering if there is still another in the nest, as Tootsie looks too young to be out....she has no tail, can flutter her wings as she walks, but not really fly.
I've noticed Mumma and Papa don't worry about us being around ...touching, feeding etc...its great to be involved....well off to bed, need to be up at 5am to reunite Tootsie with her parents.
Di and Bob Swift live in Bald Hills, Brisbane Australia with their beautiful friends. They have the Tinchi Tamba Reserve Wetlands right at their back fence, so plenty of birdlife around and occasionally the slippery legless critters.
Here you can see Di with Olly and Sweetpea, two of their olive cockatiels. Bob is with Desi.
It's wonderful to hear stories of trust and friendship between magpies and humans. Thank you Di & Bob for your story & pictures.-- Gitie & Ron