A ‘wild peacock chase’ and other bizarre bird rescue stories

July 26, 2018

As an RSPCA South Australia rescue officer, you just never quite know what weird and wonderful direction your workday might take.

For our small, community-funded rescue team, the Animal Ambulance has been strangely busy over the past month with feathered friends who’ve got themselves into all sorts of sticky situations. Read on for their rather odd rescue stories.

Elusive peacock leads rescue officers on wild bird chase

This stray peacock did his best to outsmart our rescue officers for weeks! Reported as a stray to RSPCA’s 1300 4 777 22 hotline in mid-June, Rescue Officer Soraya was first on the scene at Elizabeth Park, only to find the peacock had disappeared.

A few days later, another call came through. The peacock was making himself at home on a roof – and then eating absolutely everything in the caller’s front yard. This time Rescue Officer Nalika attended but, despite throwing out some delish chook pellets, was unable to catch the elusive peacock. A third attempt by Rescue Officer Soraya was also unsuccessful, as the peacock managed – just – to outrun her net.

Finally, in early July, rescue officers Soraya and Dave embarked on a joint effort. “We decided times were up for the outlaw peacock,” Soraya recalls. “We were in luck as it was sunning itself in a corner, keeping low to outwit us. We crept up with nets a go-go and Dave got him! After all that, the peacock did not even put up a fight.”

A week of TLC at RSPCA’s Lonsdale shelter later and this crafty peacock was adopted into a new forever home – hopefully one he can’t escape from!

Coastal raptor crashes head-first at Semaphore

Black-shouldered kite rescue June 2018

This black-shouldered kite had a rough day when it apparently misjudged a landing and crashed headfirst into a Semaphore footpath in late June. A neighbour called RSPCA South Australia after noticing the poor bird sitting still for hours with blood on its head.

Rescue Officer Soraya was soon on the scene and promptly ferried the small raptor to treatment at the Adelaide Bird and Exotics Vet Centre.

Young magpie family find themselves rather stuck

A whole heap of unholy squawking alerted a Prospect business owner to trouble high up in some shopfront signage this month. Turns out three inquisitive young magpies had somehow fallen behind the signs and couldn’t get themselves back out again.

Rescue Officer Soraya called for Metropolitan Fire Service help and, using their enormous extendable ladder, the firies got up high enough to safely free all three birds. Hopefully the maggies learned their lesson and will think twice about returning to that spot!

Broken-winged native duck sends rescue officer swimming

Rain, hail or shine, our rescue officers are out there saving animals (read: birds!) in need. Rescue Officer Dave even waded into a pond at Salisbury’s Pitman Park this month, after reports of a native wood duck spotted with a badly broken wing.

Thankfully, Rescue Officer Dave managed to capture the poor duck and bring it to safety – but not before completely saturating his boots, socks and pants. All in a day’s work!

Magpie needs a little help to get out of a big tangle

It’s actually a problem our rescue officers see all too regularly – birds who’ve brought bits of string or plastic back to their nests, only to become hopelessly entangled. (Dispose of your rubbish properly, folks!)

Lucky for this Hope Valley maggie, Rescue Officer Dave was soon on the scene. He found the very stressed magpie hanging upside-down in a tree, unable to escape. Rescue Officer Dave managed to cut the terrified bird down, before taking it on for a few days rest and recovery with our friends at the Adelaide Koala and Wildlife Hospital. A subsequent release back into the wild was hugely succesful.

Stray show-variety pigeon brings luck in new home

This fancy little pigeon flew into just the right place after escaping – turning up on Rescue Officer Soraya’s sister’s back verandah at Seaford in early July! “The pigeon was something they had never seen before, the markings were unusual and the bird had a leg band,” Rescue Officer Soraya recalls.

“My sister thought it was an omen because they were preparing for a barbecue competition at the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Fest, and their logo is black and white, the same as the pigeon. To top it off, they won the competition!”

Promptly collected and taken to RSPCA Lonsdale, staff began trying to track the lucky show-variety pigeon’s leg tag. Turns out this old bird is 10 years old and was previously owned by a person who passed away last year. So, after some TLC, it was straight into adoption to find a new forever home for the helmet-variety pigeon.

Did you know our dedicated rescue team is entirely funded by community donations? It’s only thanks to our supporters that we can keep our Animal Ambulances on the road, and be there when animals need us most. Learn more here.

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