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Birds blown down in storm

Wednesday, 24th September, 2008

As the skies cleared after Monday's storm it was revealed that it wasn't only people's houses that were damaged by the wild weather.

A number of trees containing birds' nests were felled by the 115 kilometre an hour gusts, leaving many chicks without a home.

Whilst Mother Nature did take the lives of some, a lucky group of 11 infant magpies, two baby crows and a baby crested pigeon were rescued.

Volunteers from local wildlife group, RRANA (Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals), will care for them for at least the next 14 weeks.

Because it's such an intensive job - the birds need to be hand fed every two hours during the day - the care will be shared between volunteers Allison Graham, Barbara Hands and Shirley Kakoschke.

RRANA Media Officer Lindy Hunt said that they will be released into a safe spot in the wild when they are able to fend for themselves.

"Ideally you'd put them back in the nest.

"That's the best thing to do but in this case the trees were too high and some of the trees the nests were in fell down."

Ms Hunt applauded the efforts of concerned locals who reported the orphaned birds.

"It's a good story they've survived.

"It makes a difference that people care, otherwise they'd starve to death."

Anyone who comes across an orphaned or injured native animal can contact RRANA on their 24 hour hotline, 0429 204 416.

Meanwhile Country Energy Regional General, Manager Guy Chick, applauded the efforts of his staff for their prompt work to restore power across the entire far west region during the storms.

Mr Chick said that supply interruptions occurred in Broken Hill as well as Murray Downs, Moulamein, Balranald, Euston, Pooncarie, Cockburn, Menindee, White Cliffs, Wilcannia and Tibooburra.

"Our fault detection controls were effective in ensuring the safety of our customers in some areas as quickly as 30 minutes after the event.

"The rapid response by Country Energy crews resulted in power being restored to customers in some areas as quickly as 30 minutes after the event, however, some areas were without power for several hours."

Mr Chick said that public safety was a concern and staff had been busy patrolling powerlines and checking equipment to rectify any problems. "We apologise for any inconvenience caused and assure customers that all possible steps to restore supply were carried out as quickly and safely as possible."

Members of the public are being advised not to approach any damaged or low hanging powerlines.

If customers experience isolated supply interruptions or notice any damage to powerlines, Country Energy's Supply Interruption Hotline can be contacted on 13 20 80.

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