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The Foster Parent - by Julie McLaren

Last week we noticed that the Striated Pardalotes [the ones that nest in the wall of the cottage] hadn't been around all day to feed the babies, who were making quite a loud noise. We waited until midday the next day to see if one of the adults would turn up. They didn't.So, after extending the 50c size hole in the wall, we managed to retrieve 3 baldy babies.We got a lot of the nest material and put them in it and put them inside under a light, but then realised that we couldn't possibly rear these babies and would have to kill them.

Then, Anna, my daughter, suddenly remembered that a Willie-wagtail who had built a nest in our car shed had lost one of her babies that very day and the other two eggs had gone out of the nest. So, the three baby Pardalotes were put in the Willie's nest and within ten minutes she was feeding them. It is now six days after the event and Willie is still feeding her foster children and sitting on them and the three babies are very much alive.

Is this interfering with nature?

I like to think that it isn't as we're pretty sure a feral cat has taken the adults, but we just don't know.


"Bowra", Cunnamulla, Qld.