The Sutherland Shire Leader

Time out called on tree removal while kookaburra chicks fledge

By Maria Galinovic

Jan. 15, 2014, 9:40 a.m.

Home for the birds: Chicks were allowed to stay in the hollow log until ready to leave home. Pictures: Michael Alesandro

Home for the birds: Chicks were allowed to stay in the hollow log until ready to leave home. Pictures: Michael Alesandro


IT APPEARS that mum and dad kookaburra weren't thinking of structural stability when they set up house in a scribbly gum in a Grays Point backyard just before Christmas, but perhaps they didn't see the large crack in the tree.

In the meantime — unaware of the bird family — homeowner Brett Suttor called Sydney Tree Works to remove the tree before it caused a major accident.

Upon inspecting the gum scheduled for removal, arborists discovered two kookaburra chicks nesting in a hollow and called a halt to the job while Mr Suttor contacted native animal rescue organisation WIRES for advice.

WIRES thought the chicks should not be forced out of their home before they were ready to go.

"The hollow where the nest was located was situated roughly 2.5 metres off the ground," said WIRES volunteer Christine Grahame.

"In consultation with Sydney Tree Works, we recommended to Mr Suttor that the first four metres of the tree be kept intact until the fledglings left the nest.

"Mr Suttor was very happy to ensure that the best interests of the kookaburra chicks were maintained.

"The chicks were temporarily housed in a safe and quiet environment while the remainder of the scheduled works continued, and were later put back."


Arborist Jim Keating said there was no point endangering the life of native birds for the sake of a few dollars.

"We have to protect our native birds as best we can," he said.

"Before the chicks were put back in their nest, we covered it with bark to help waterproof it.

"It was great to see that, as we were leaving, the parents of the baby kookaburras had come back to the nest.

"By late afternoon, the kookaburra chicks were seen being fed regularly by their parents."

According to Mr Suttor the kookaburras continued their family routine for another four days or so, by which time the chicks were sufficiently fledged to set out on their own.

The stump was due to be removed last week (January 6) but Mr Suttor reckons there are plenty more native trees in his backyard if other birds want to set up house.

Details: If you have a native animal in distress call the WIRES rescue line on 13000WIRES or visit