Lethal nest materials

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Lethal nest materials
From: Debbie Lustig <>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 13:22:55 +1000
Last week, I came across two Red Wattlebird chicks in my local, Elsternwick 
park. Their nest was fairly low, and they were fledged and ready to leave it. 
As I watched, in fact, one flew off. The other teetered on the nest's edge, 
stretching and flapping its wings.
Checking the next day, I noticed the reason for this. Just visible on the 
outside was a piece of string that bound one of its legs to the branch the nest 
sat on.
After getting the go-ahead from Wildlife Victoria, a friend and I set about 
trying to cut it free. Sadly, the string was by no means the only problem. 
After looking inside the nest, I found the chick entangled in another golf-ball 
sized mess of yellow, plastic thread.
We were forced to take down the nest and worked for 20 minutes cutting the bird 
free, which panicked, all the while. Its parents were both nearby, shrieking an 
alarm in that unmistakeable,wattlebird, way.
At this point, it became clear the bird wouldn't survive. It had spent at least 
a full day struggling so hard, its leg was broken and hung loose. If infection 
didn't kill it, inability to perch surely would.
We debated getting it euthanised but decided to let it go. It flew away 
strongly, towards its parents.
This nasty story is apparently not uncommon. According to the rescue people, 
many birds line their nests with humanity's detritus and end up worse for wear. 
Has anyone ever heard of this?

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