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Wildlife Care – Heron Chicks

December 7th, 2017

We have been privileged to raise two orphaned striated heron chicks this year.

The two little fluff balls were handed in a week apart but came from the same location (the Reef Marina, Port Douglas) so were most likely nestmates. Both had fallen out of the nest and unfortunately, it was not possible to return them to their home.

Once coming into care they received a mix of fresh fish (Dave had an excuse to go fishing each day so was pretty happy), insects (crickets, worms etc), insectivore mix, a little mince and calcium supplement. The first chick, Harry, suffered a bout of paralysis when first rescued and we were doubtful he was going to make it. Fortunately, with lots of TLC he pulled through and showed marked improvement after being joined by his sibling (Keenie). Watching them learn to fly and catch food was an absolute pleasure and it was amazing to see how strong their instincts became (e.g. I had read that this species sometimes engage in ‘fishing’by dropping a leaf into the water to bring fish to the surface for them to catch. I assumed this was a behaviour learned from their parents but our chicks started performing this act at about 7 weeks of age!)

After almost 3 months in care, both birds were fully fledged so taken up to the Daintree Ice Cream Co property for release at the river. They now live a full life in the wild (where they belong).