Tara Hunter with Sacred Kingfisher

Birds decimated as winds and rain strike with ferocity

MOTHER Nature has revealed her power to local residents over the past few months with ferocious storms bringing heavy rain and gale force winds.

The powerful storms coupled with significant lightning activity has caused major property damage and shredded established trees like match-sticks.

Cafe Metz

The destruction of the vegetation has also meant local wildlife has been decimated in many areas.

Wildcare’s Canungra based volunteer, Tara Hunter, has seen firsthand the brutal force of the storms having been called out on numerous occasions to help save injured wildlife.

Just one of those occasions was on Christmas Day in Tamborine where a major Corella roosting site became the eye of the storm.

A stand of gum trees was almost totally destroyed and as it came down hundreds of birds sheltering from the storm were killed and injured.

Tara said she received an urgent call from Wildcare volunteer Sharon Powell at midnight asking if she could come and help and even though she was told how bad it was she wasn’t prepared for the devastation she witnessed.

“I arrived at the property at midnight after safely navigating the fallen trees on the main road and as I pulled into the street I saw fallen trees all over the place and white bits amongst the branches on the grass verges and the road,” she said.

“I stopped the car, got out and realised the white bits were birds everywhere on the ground.

“After a walk around and an assessment of the situation I formulated a plan and with the help of the team we set up puppy play pens in the two garages on the property and started putting injured birds in there.

“There were hundreds of injured birds and I was struggling to triage them, there were just so many,” she said.

Tara said she still vividly remembers the noise from all the screaming birds that were alive, broken and trapped.

Rescued injured birds were taken to the RSPCA Animal Hospital at Wacol and sadly from the hundreds who once called the area home only 14 survived.

The last of these Long Billed and Little Corellas was released just a few weeks ago back at the scene where a few gums are still standing. 

As Wildcare’s species coordinator specialising in birds Tara was the right person to answer the call on Christmas night, but even with all her knowledge just a handful of the flock could be saved.

“When we released the last of the surviving birds it was wonderful to see the call greeting her as she flew up into the branches,” Tara said.

“It was heart-breaking on the night, but at least all those who assisted will be able to proudly watch as the Corellas rebuild their numbers in this wonderful region.”

“There were hundreds of injured birds and I was struggling to triage them, there were just so many …” -TARA HUNTER

About Keer Moriarty 296 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.