Shortly after dawn yesterday morning, the home of the now infamous Macquarie Street peewee was chopped down by Dubbo City Council.
The tall robinia where the bird nested was found to be “structurally unsound” and had to be removed for the safety of pedestrians and motorists, council said.
The troublesome peewee, who’d previously injured a number of pedestrians, flew to the opposite side of the street.
Meanwhile its baby chicks were put into a box and surrendered to WIRES later in the day.
Council’s manager of horticultural services Ian McAllister said he wasn’t aware of any complaints about the peewee until the Daily Liberal reported the issue this week, but upon inspection, the tree presented greater problems.
“We initially intended to just remove the nest, but when we went down to have a look we found the robinia had a very bad lean on it,” he said.
“With permission from National Parks and Wildlife, we decided to remove the tree ... It would have been a safety hazard to leave it there.”
Council employees initially cut off the branch and lifted the nest out, Mr McAllister said, before the remains of the tree were removed. The process took about 30 minutes and began at 6am.
“The bird was essentially protecting its young. Now that we’ve moved the nest away, we don’t imagine the swooping will continue,” Mr McAllister said.
Dubbo WIRES volunteer Dennis Whitton said the four baby peewees were doing “excellently well” in their new box home, which they’ve been sharing with another orphaned bird, but they still require around-the-clock care.
“Looking after peewees is a 24-hour job ... they do sleep at night, but they start to squark for food every time they see me,” he said.
Mr Whitton has been feeding the peewees every 30 minutes or so and will begin using chopsticks to distribute food from today onwards.
“It’s better that they don’t have contact with human hands, it can be a little confusing for them,” he said.
The WIRES representative assured the Daily Liberal the birds are perfectly fine and don’t miss their mum.
“That sense of attachment is more of a human thing,” he said.
“And the mother will lose her maternal instinct very quickly and go off to build a new nest.”
As for the now-removed tree, council’s Mr McAllister said the procedure was inevitable.
“The robinias were only ever put in as companion pieces to celtis trees and they’re progressively being taken out as they fail,” he
Mr McAllister said he did not know when the next Macquarie Street robinia will be removed.