Magpie

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Kimbolina
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Magpie

Two nights ago I noticed my Magpies didn't come down to the yard to feed. There are six of them but usually only four will sit in my yard (two adults and two juveniles). After waiting for about an hour I noticed there was a lot of activity in the area. I live near a school and while the kids are on holidays the crows don't seem to hang around, as soon as they're back at school the crows return. Then I noticed five out of the six magpies were chasing the crows, obviously to get them out of their territory but there were so many crows, 30 or more. Normally the magpies will tolerate the crows and the crows know not to cross the magpies, the magpies will loudly clap their beaks together showing them who's boss.
Anyway to cut a long story short, the magpies never came down that night. Next morning they were back as they normally are. I noticed one of the juveniles, I call him Ratbag because he is a real menace, had a scar on his face which is not normally there. Today I noticed the scar has ulcerated and he has another mark on the top of his head. While I cannot get too close to Ratbag, unlike the two adults, he seems to be fine. He's feeding, flying normally and warbling like he always does.
I'm wondering will this ulceration heal by itself? It doesn't look good but he doesn't seem to be too worried about it. He's his normal menacing self. Anyone know anything about Magpies, will he be okay?
Thanks in advance.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Hi Kimbolina, I would love to help you, but I don't know what it is. Seeing this is such a good photo, why don't you e-mail it to your local wildlife carer, to see, if they have seen something like this before? ( sorry, many vets don't know a lot about birds, but you might be lucky with your local vet. I would try!) Good luck, and let me know, what you find out.

M-L

Kimbolina
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Hi Araminta,
After searching the internet, I have a feeling this might be "PoxVirus". Apparently there have been more and more sightings of Juvenile magpies with this disease, some more severe than others. The infection is usually seen around the feet, beak, eyelids, or anywhere where there isn't a lot of feathers. It is caused by biting insects such as mosquito's. If it is this disease according to one vet the magpie will get better but will always be a carrier of this disease, as there is no cure. They say it is not contagious to humans but may be contagious to birds of similar species such as the Magpie Lark.
I feel sorry for Ratbag but I honestly believe there is nothing I can do for him, because I can't get close to him, so there would be no way I could get him to the vet. I guess I just have to wait. However I will keep an eye on him when he's here. Hopefully his immune system will kick in and start healing those sores.
My first thought was that he had an injury, maybe fighting with a crow, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Thank you for replying.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Hi Kimbolina, Thanks for giving me the info, hope the bird is strong enough to survive!! Let me know from time to time how he is. One question you don't have to answer, as I'm interested in names and avatars,where does "Kimbolina" comes from? Or is it: Kim Bolina, and you are of Italian origine?

M-L

Kimbolina
Kimbolina's picture

Hi Araminta,
I just fed him and noticed there is another very small ulceration on the other side of his beak, but he still seems very strong. I truly hope he'll be okay.
Kimbolina was given to me by a friend. It went from Kim to Kimbo then she added the "lina" to the end, so I've used it ever since as most forums etc. the name Kim is usually taken. I'm not of Italian descent. :)

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Thanks for telling me about Ratbag. About the name Kimbolina,Interesting, my grandmother used to add "lina" onto many names, wonder where it comes from? Maybe it makes something smaller? Any clues? (could be russian?)

M-L

Kimbolina
Kimbolina's picture

Sorry I wouldn't have a clue, but apparently the name Thumbalina is from Hebrew origin/culture according to the internet, but I can't really find anything on Kimbolina or just "Lina"

Kimbolina
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Just an update on Ratbag (the magpie). Since posting my original post, his poor little face had become worse, now spreading to the other side of his face. I can only imagine how painful this must be for him.

Last Thursday night he never showed up to sit in my palm tree and sing his lovely song. By Saturday night I had feared the worst, thinking that maybe the infection had spread to his mouth and he could no longer feed. By Sunday, I thought I'd never see him again and really felt a little sad. Then all of a sudden I noticed a magpie sitting on my fence, warbling. He flew down to the birdbath to have a drink and I still didn't recognise him. So I started to walk towards the bird sitting on the birdbath and I think my heart just sank. It was Ratbag. He looks so different without his ulceration.

Although he will never be rid of the disease, I think he will survive. He is a very strong and energetic bird which I think helped him immensely. I was over the moon to see that he was still around. I have no idea where he was for those few days but I'm so glad he's back.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Hi Kimbolina, I have been looking at the bird for a long time, thinking, it might be a different Magpie? But the more I look at him, the more I think it is the same bird. You can see the marks on his face, where the ulcers were(?). That would be good news for Ratbag. (May be not so good for all the other birds he will infect?) I do understand, how glad you are though!!

M-L

Kimbolina
Kimbolina's picture

When I first saw him I thought so too, but it's not, it is him. But suddenly something strange is going on with him. His mum who also visits daily has now started to pick on him. She really gives him a hiding and I don't know why. Today he sat in my tree all day quietly and every time one of the others flew past, he would hide. At one stage his mum really got stuck into him and he cowered away into a big ball of fluff, did not move a muscle while she was there and she dropped her wings which made herself look even bigger than she really is. I went outside to break it up because I really felt sorry for Ratbag, although his mum is a beautiful bird, I don't understand why she's alienating him all of a sudden.
Do you have any idea why she might be doing this? It really concerns me, because he's not foraging on the lawns in the area like the others, he just sits in my tree all day, quietly warbling to himself.
I don't know if this is normal behaviour for magpies so any info would be appreciated. I really want to understand if this is normal for her to do this or not?

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Hi Kimbolina, I would like to find out, what became of "Ratbag"? have you seen him again? Just let me know, thanks Kim, It's been a long time now...

M-L

Kimbolina
Kimbolina's picture

Hi Araminta, after my last post Ratbag's mum continued to harass him but as I watch more closely I realised this is apart of the way they are. He had obviously shown her disrespect and as like any parent, he was told off.
Ratbag has always been a "ratbag" ever since I first met him as a baby. Always in trouble for one thing or another, the other thing I think that may be happening between him and his mum, maybe because he's a male, she's slowly trying to tell him to move on as I don't know how many males they have in one group? Just a guess.
His face has healed nicely, he has black scars on his face, you wouldn't notice unless you were close to him but the redness is gone and so have the ulcers. In some places on his face I don't think his feather's will grow back but he seems happy enough and still visits either on his own or with his family to drink from the birdbath. Today was the first time I actually stood right next to him without him walking away. He normally gets so close, then backs away.
I have become really fond of Ratbag and some days I don't see him at all, but I can hear him as he flies around. His sister "Boo" has learnt to make some really unusual sounds when she sits in my palm tree singing. Sounds like, a car alarm, mimics of other birds, even a human voice. Boo is a completely different to Ratbag, the way she sings, her personality and even the way she acts around her family. She is rather timid when it comes to humans and very much a Daddy's girl, always flying around with him.
I am happy to report all of them seem to be fine and Ratbag is doing really well.
Thank you for asking :)

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