RARE SIGHTING: Driver rescues stunning bird
AN EXTREMELY rare and stunning species of bird has been rescued and released in the Byron Shire.
Most of us have never seen a noisy pitta as the population of these birds has declined due to the clearing of forests where these beautiful birds live and breed.
They also are easy prey for cats and other predators as they spend considerable time on the forest floor.
While the noisy pitta's conservation status is secure in NSW, spotting one in the wild is a rarity.
But a WIRES Northern Rivers spokeswoman said a noisy pitta bird was picked up on Sunday after a driver noticed it sitting in the middle of the road at Bangalow.
He turned his car around, stopped and picked it up.
He then placed the bird in a box with a soft cloth and called WIRES for assistance.
"Once in WIRES care, it was hydrated and placed in a hospital cage where it was kept dark and quiet overnight," the spokeswoman said.
"Amazingly the bird was not injured - it was stunned and in shock, likely having been clipped by a car.
"It recovered quickly and was soon perching.
"The following morning it was offered food which it readily accepted.
"It passed a flight test with ease and it was time to go home."
The spokeswoman said the bird was released well away from the road into nearby bush close to where it had been found.
"Thank you, Scott for taking the time to rescue this little bird, calling WIRES and giving this little bird a second chance at life," she said.
WIRES Northern Rivers raptor (birds of prey) co-ordinator and state avian management officer, Melanie Barsony, said the first time she saw a noisy pitta in the wild, she thought she was seeing things because its colours were so iridescent.
"It's very special to see one in the wild," she said.
"They are migratory and quite secretive little birds - we only get about three or four a year.
"I believe they move towards the coast when it's cooler."
She said it was rewarding to be able to release wildlife, because so many species are struggling.
"We've lost so much with the fires, the drought, starvation and there being no insects," she said.
"We have to be vigilant about looking after our wildlife."
She urged cat owners to keep their pets indoors where possible and to not let them out at night.
If you come across an injured or orphaned critter, phone WIRES on 6628 1898.