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Jabiru Joins the Family at Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: April 22, 2021 6:00 am

Jabiru Rescue AWC

Fred the jabiru who has been raised at Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo Credit: Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Since October last year the station manager's at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy's Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary in Cape York have been playing host to an extra family member.

This was no invited guest though. Instead  Sally Gray and Graham Woods have welcomed a juvenile Black-necked Stork  who wanders in and out of their home as he so chooses.

Jabiru Rescue AWC

Fred the jabiru helps mow the lawn at Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo Credit: Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Found on the side of a road in August of 2021 Fred was nursed back to health by volunteer wildlife rescue group Weipa Wildlife Care. After 5 weeks of care he was deemed fit to return to the wild and was brought to the Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary.

At Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary Fred has access to a vast network of wetlands homing a range of waterbirds, crocodiles, frogs, crabs, turtles and fish. The perfect habitat for a jabiru.

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Fred hasn't quite seen it this way though. Just 24 hours after his carers waved goodbye as he took to the skies he was spotted at a dam within 5km of the sanctuary homestead. The following day he was seen at the end of their driveway and before the week was out he made his first venture in to the homestead as the family ate dinner.

Since then Fred has been accepted as a permanent member of the sanctuary and the homestead at the Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary.

"Fred the curious jabiru is sharing our space!” explained Sally Gray, AWC Sanctuary Manager at Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary. “He has taken to turning up every morning from his mystery overnight roost to join us for coffee and he likes to hang out with Graham in the workshop."


"It’s incredible behavior for a wild-born bird," Sally added.

Jabiru Rescue AWC

Fred with a member of the family at Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo Credit: Australian Wildlife Conservancy

As part of his welcome to the sanctuary AWC Ecologist Eridani Mulder banded and registered him with the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme. As one of only 14 jabirus currently on the register he is making an important contribution to the understanding of his species.

While Fred is growing the band will allow scientists and birdwatchers to identify him and gain insights in to Australia's only native stork species.

Jabiru Rescue AWC

Fred the jabiru wanders around a river at the Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo Credit: Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Learn more about the Jabiru here – Jabiru Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Australian Wildlife Conservancy on their website – Australian Wildlife Conservancy

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