Factors we take into account when releasing a bird:
From the birds perspective we make sure:
- It is safe immediately around the release point
- It is this familiar territory i.e.”home”
- If it cannot be returned to its rescue point we determine if the habitat is suitable for the species and that there is prey readily accessible for it.
We always try to return the birds to the general area where they were picked up. This gives the bird a better chance if survival since this is where nature intended it to be. If it is returned home the food supply should be adequate unless the landscape has changed since rescue. Also all birds of prey mate for life. We want to return them to the area where they can find their partner.
Is the area free of potential hazards? We look at an analyze:
- predators or mobbing birds such as crows
- distance from the road
- livestock such as cattle
- power lines in immediate release area
- all bodies of water
Is the bird physically okay?
Birds can get injured in transport. It does not happen often but it can. We make sure no feathers or wings were damaged in the transport. We remove the bird from the container and give it a quick look over before we let it go. We check it’s legs to make sure any identifying bands or tie wraps were removed.
Is the habitat right?
Birds need to be in the right habitat. The majority of times we are returning birds of prey back to where they came from. If a bird has been shot, it will not be returned back to the same area. Although all shootings are reported to FWC rarely if ever is there enough evidence for an arrest or conviction.
Is it the right time of day?
Diurnal birds are released during daylight hours, preferably before noon, to give them plenty of time to get adjusted to their surroundings and find a place to roost.
Nocturnal birds, such as owls, are released after the sundown.
If all conditions are right we release the bird back into the wild where it belongs!