Lethal nest materials

To: "'Debbie Lustig'" <>, "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Lethal nest materials
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 15:13:31 +1100
The answer to your last line "Has anyone ever heard of this?" is (as I
think you know), a certain YES. The same thing happened to a raven chick
in my yard a few years ago but these are just single stories. But as you
say "This nasty story is apparently not uncommon." It is a problem for
many nesting birds, that may use string and plastic in building or
lining nests. These are often long and tangled or just unbreakable, such
as plastic rings. The animals once entangled, can rarely escape. When
caught up on growing bodies, the effects can be horrible. Similar
problems are prominent for marine animals. I recall having seen film of
a marine turtle that had got a plastic ring around its body between its
front and rear legs (obviously when little) and continued to grow
probably for many years and was very deformed with its middle
constricted and probably suffering terribly, until found that way. I
don't recall if it was found alive or dead. People should cut all
plastic rings, so they will open, before chucking, for that reason, so
that it can slip off an animal.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Debbie Lustig
Sent: Monday, 25 October 2010 2:23 PM
To: birding-aus
Subject: Lethal nest materials

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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