Ranger’s Feathered Friends

1 May 2016

Precious little bright red Crimson Finches (or otherwise known as Blood Finches) now have somewhere to keep their babies safe thanks to the care and clever thinking of ERA’s Mining team.

Previously the finches were causing havoc setting up nests in air-conditioning units around the mining offices and in the wheels of haul trucks.

Not only were the nests a fire and health hazard they were also an easy target for local crows.

Mining A Plant Technicians Mark McPherson (Lovey) and Melissa Pettersson decided custom made nests might help to solve the problem. They salvaged materials left over from the drill and blast programme at Pit 3 and used PVC pipe to build nesting tubes underneath eaves and verandas.

The idea is now in the running for an ESH Achievement Award. Mining A Plant Technician Greg Tomlin says it was nearly 12 months before the finches started using the nests. But once they became familiar with them it was quite common to see two nests in the one tube.

“Lovey and Mel’s enthusiasm for this project has infected the whole crew and everyone is keeping tabs on which tubes have young chicks in them.”

“One of the nesting tubes had to be relocated as the cunning crows found a way to stand on a diagonal brace and access the nest. The crew are now looking at further modifications such as adding a smaller entrance to make the tubes even more ‘crow proof’ for the next nesting season,” Greg said.

Mark and Melissa are long term members of Mining A Crew who are known for their interest in nature and the outdoors. Mark is originally from Port Lincoln and spends his time off in the surf.

Melissa is a born and bred Jabiru local whose love of wildlife comes from growing up surrounded by Kakadu National Park. Both have worked in various departments throughout their dedicated careers at ERA; Mark has been at Ranger mine for 27 years and Melissa for 16 years.

And it’s not just the Mining team who look out for our feathered friends on site. Recently the Sandblasting team spotted baby Willie Wagtails under machinery in the Blastyard and kept them safe and sound until the birds set flight.