Nothing tweet about the heat
IT’S NOT exactly what one would consider typical animal behaviour: mother birds leaving their newborn babies to die – or even eating them.
But that’s exactly the kind of thing that’s been happening at bird aviaries across the Fraser Coast this spring – and baffled breeders are putting it down to unseasonable weather.
“The birds are doing weird things they’ve never done before,” said Don Cantle, a Yengarie hobby breeder of Australian parrots.
“They’re either laying infertile eggs, laying fertile eggs but eating them before they hatch or waiting for the eggs to hatch but leaving their babies to die.
“I’ve been breeding birds for seven years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Mr Cantle, a member of the Wide Bay Parrot Society and the Hervey Bay Bird Club, said it was a widespread problem across the region.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to says the same thing.
“The only thing that we’ve come up with is that the weather has been so strange this year that it’s thrown everything out of kilter.
“For example the parrots don’t usually nest until early November but in August I found 50-odd pair working a nest and I thought ‘Ripper’”.
“But then they started laying infertile eggs or leaving their babies to die – it’s not typical behaviour.
“It was such a funny winter and now we’re having this long dry spell. The birds are too confused.”
Jeannette Farrell, secretary of the Wide Bay Parrot Society, said nearly all the 24 members of the club had been experiencing similar problems.
“We have one friend with over 100 aviaries and he’s had virtually no birds bred this year,” she said.
The hot, dry spell that has wreaked havoc on the Fraser Coast’s birds this year was briefly interrupted by a few light showers across the region yesterday.
Weather forecaster Rick Threlfall said hot temperatures were, however, set to prevail this month and climb five to six degrees above average this weekend.
“We’re looking at one or two isolated showers in the mornings until Friday,” he said.