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The lucky story of a Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo

Alex (see photo) is a Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo and is a very lucky lad. Discovered, as a tiny 10-day old chick in the hollow of a felled tree at Tarago, he was picked up by a couple of inquisitive Samaritans, taken to the vet, who then passed the bird to Wildcare for rehabilitation and release. But this little fella had a different destiny to the norm.

Maryanne, Wildcare’s bird coordinator in Queanbeyan, took on the job of initially raising Alex prior to handing him onto Nadia who specialises in bird care. As Maryanne says, “Raising a chick from such an early age is not easy.

Alex before
Alex when he was rescued.

They require considerable care, in terms of temperature and humidity control. And they need feeding with a syringe every couple of hours. It can be a challenge, but this one made it and within a few months had grown quickly to close to its full-grown weight of about 700 grams.”

“The problem was, that Alex was raised alone, and didn’t know how to be a cockatoo. And as Wildcare and neighbouring wildlife groups didn’t have a companion bird to match him up, he became very humanised. He could not be released back into the wild, as he would always seek out the company of people.

Normally in such a case, if an animal cannot be released, authorities stipulate it has to be euthanised. However, under the NSW Code of Practice for raising and releasing orphaned wildlife, there was a slim option to keep him alive, as a permanent care animal.

Maryanne and Nadia wanted the best possible home for Alex and found exactly that, all the way across in Western Australia at the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre.

Kaarakin was very keen to have Alex to help raise public awareness. They already have other species of black cockatoos and have huge aviaries and facilities. There is no doubt Alex will have a great life at Kaarakin. To transfer Alex, there was a need to get permission from the NSW and WA governments and then it was a matter of organising the flight across the continent.”

So, well done to Maryanne and Nadia, who both raised Alex at different stages and took the long journey across to Perth. Their efforts to raise Alex, and then at their expense, transfer him to Kaarakin are extraordinary. As Maryanne, says, “He has apparently settled in very well – happy to chat away to the staff and get along with the other permanent care parrots. Overall, Kaarakin can have as many as 150 parrots at any time in rehabilitation and permanent care.”

If you need any help with wildlife matters, get in touch with Wildcare on 6299 1966. And if you are interested in caring for injured and orphaned birds (or other wildlife), check out there website: wildcare.com.au

Philip Machin, Wildcare

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