Feathered friends find new home in Benoni

Some of the nestlings that were released at the Korsman Conservancy.

The four feathered creatures were released into the conservancy on Saturday.

Michelle Watson, a volunteer at Friends of Free Wildlife (a centre that rescues, rehabilitates and releases indigenous wildlife in Gauteng), released the young birds after deeming the area suitable.

Watson told the City Times she was informed by contacts at the Johannesburg Zoo that five birds had been dropped off at a Boksburg police station after children had thrown stones at them.

The gulls were taken to the zoo, who then informed Watson.

Due to an injury to a wing, one of the birds had to be euthanased.

Despite the setback, Watson undertook to rehabilitate the remaining four nestlings in July – ensuring that they did not imprint on her.

The birds received minimal human contact and had a pond, were given food (in the water and in mud) – all to replicate the birds’ natural habitat.

Watson said once the birds were old enough, she had to find a suitable place for them to be re-homed.

Suitability is determined by an area that has large flocks of birds, is not polluted and is protected from predators – or children who throw stones at them.

Despite trying various locations on the East Rand – including a previously popular birding site off Atlas Road (now under construction) – Watson found Korsman Conservancy.

“As I pulled up I knew it was fine,” she said, citing the well-protected and clean area.

Upon release, the birds almost immediately integrated into flocks at the water, and soon took flight with other feathered friends.

“It is exactly the result I was looking for; it worked perfectly,” Watson said.

Jane Trembath, chairperson of the Korsman Conservancy, said an official count of some of the birds in July revealed 19 grey-headed gulls, eight greater flamingos and 74 lesser flamingos.

These figures are not constant.

Also read:

Korsman burns grass in controlled fire

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Kevin van der List

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