Meet the heir apparent to Macquarie Street’s pugnacious peewee.
A sort of Second Generation Attack Machine.
This little chap is already stretching his wings and legs, quite some days before he was expected to, and is just about ready to take on the world like his parents before him.
As some Dubbo residents were still shaking their heads over the summary removal of a mud nest with four baby peewees - as well as the mature robinia tree in which the nest was built - the Daily Liberal visited the orphaned nestlings now in the care of WIRES.
Volunteer and bird expert Dennis Whitton said all four baby peewees were still doing well, and had adopted a stray peewee of the same age.
The precious bunch of five is housed for the moment in a plastic container and fed from dawn to dusk, every half an hour or so “or whenever they all squawk together’’, Mr Whitton says. He is feeding them a diet of a moist paste of hard-boiled egg, very lean mince and an insectivore supplement.
“They’re a very stressy little bird, not as easy to raise as a magpie.
“Normally a pair will breed two plus two spares - so for all four to be still alive is quite unusual.’’
Mr Whitton estimates the birds are about a fortnight from perching on the edge of the “nest’’ although the bigger, stronger heir apparent is more advanced.
“He eats the most and is trying a bit of a test flap.
“In the wild the parents favour the largest.’’
Mr Whitton is not entirely happy that the baby birds were removed but is devoted to caring for his new charges.
“The ideal solution would have been to leave them for another couple of weeks.’’
But he agreed that his view may have been different if he was one of the people attacked.
“I thought initially people must have been talking about a magpie attacking because peewees usually don’t do this. I think those peewees have become so used to people and perhaps overwhelmed by them, they’re not normally that aggressive.
“It’s like someone telling you they’ve been attacked by a turtle - it is very unusual.’’
The four nestlings and their new nest-mate will stay with Mr Whitton for some weeks before he moves them into a flight aviary, where food will be provided. Hopefully, all being well, the birds will be released in a staged manner, with the aviary door left open and food provided to help the birds adjust to looking after themselves.