At the start of Term 4, some of our Talkabout parents may have spotted the warning sign outside our T3 playgroup entrance, alerting visitors to a swooping Wagtail in the area. This was because our resident Willy Wagtail couple had used the school holiday period to construct a nest on the beam above the entrance to the school.
Talkabout Family Liaison & Playgroup Coordinator Michelle Jamieson was concerned for the safety of the children and families attending playgroup, as well as the birds themselves.
“Over the last couple of days of the school holidays, they started swooping any staff that went close to the nest,” she explained. “We were extremely worried that the 50 children who attend playgroup each week (10 families per day) would get swooped and scared. Some of the children have high anxiety and/or sensory issues, so we didn’t want to upset them.”’
One option was to move the nest, but this was quickly discounted, as it appeared as though Mrs Wagtail had already laid her eggs.
An out-of-the-box solution was needed.
“I discussed it with Carlo [our handyman]and he suggested we put up some tents to create a barrier between the birds and the children.
“It worked perfectly, and the amazing thing was that once we starting putting up the tents, they no longer swooped us. It was as though they knew we were doing it to protect them.”
In a matter of weeks, the baby birds grew from hatchlings to juvenile Wagtails and midway through Term 4 the time had come for them to spread their wings and leave the nest.
“It was a bit sad to see them go, and it all happened so quickly, but I thought it was a great example of how Telethon Speech & Hearing practices what it preaches in terms of creating and promoting a fully nurturing environment for our students – and our feathered friends.”
Who knows if our Wagtail friends will be back again next year, but if they are we will be ready and willing to make them safe and comfortable.