Rescued Female Scarlet Honeyeater

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Wanda
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Rescued Female Scarlet Honeyeater

This little female Scarlet Honeyeater hit my window so I placed her in a shoe box to rest and got some photos before releasing her again. She flew to a branch then hastily left.

Araminta
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Hi Wanda, what a beautiful little bird, it's good that she made it, little Honeyeaters sometimes hit the windows hard, because of the pointy beak, that often breakes their neck. We don't get Scarlet HE down here. I had one HE that flew into my window today,I didn't think it would survive,it was on its back, and twitching.I always cover the birds with a light black towel,to give them time enough to recover from shock.I have a very high survival rate that way, I give them all the time they need. So, we had two lucky birds!

M-L

Wanda
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Thank you Araminta we have been lucky. I usually put the small birds that I find in a shoe box with ventilation and give them time to recover then take them outside lift the lid and off they fly. Bigger birds I put in my clothes basket with a towel over the top of the basket and a towel for them to sit on in the bottom. Once I hear movement whether it a big or small bird it is then released. I too have had a very high survival rate. That is rewarding!

Tassie

Good on you Wanda, nice shot to

Wanda
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Thank you Tassie! Good luck with the water up your way I saw it on another post what you wrote.

Windhover
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What a cute little lady! Interesting about Araminta mentioning the broken neck. Only about four years ago, I delivered an Azure Kingfisher specimen to one of the ornithologists at the Australian Museum and had a discussion about this breaking neck concept, because I innocently mentioned to him that the poor kingfisher probably broke its neck.
What I remember is the ornithologist telling me that most birds would not break their necks at the time of impact because their skeletal structure is quite flexible and the neck would be able to easily flex to a very compromising position. What usually does the damage - either instantly or at a later stage - is the actual hemorrhaging in the birds' brains. He also referred to a study to reflect these comments. I will contact him and see if he can clarify this and send me some more info that I would happily share. :) Of course, even if that's a study then that does not mean that a neck fracture is impossible. Naturally things may happen one way or another. One thing that we could draw as a parallel is that if a person were to run into a brick wall or ride a bike and hit a brick wall head first, there is every chance they may die from a head injury and not necessarily a broken neck. :)

Windhover
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One little additional thing is that one of our wildlife expert vets (also a Taronga Zoo vet) mentioned about giving animals a cortisone ( I am pretty certain he did say cortisone) injection ASAP; especially with a severe head injury as it helps immediately reduce the swelling around the brain and nervous system that may be caused by such trauma and that alone could be detrimental to the animals' recovery and its ability to be released. It's fabulous that she flew away, but I suppose there may have been some minor or major head trauma still there and the bird was acting on instinct, which means they can often still fly even though they may not be 100% healthy. She could have a blood clot that may finish her off once she is well out of your sight. :(
A perfect example from my experience was a Sugar Glider that was brought into care by a brand new WIRES member in my branch. This person never registered the animal with our Possum/Glider officer thus never asked for help - which in itself is a contravention of the rules; after all systems are in place for the animals and their best chances for recovery - and she just kept the animal after getting advice from the local Petbarn on keeping gliders. When we asked whom she contacted about three weeks after the glider was brought into her care she said Petbarn and it was sufficient for her. So this glider was unable to climb or stretch its patagium (the membrane used in flight) and in the end it was euthanized due to the permanent damage caused to its nervous system. It was a hopeless case sadly. Had it have seen a vet within 24 hours of it being found then the chances would certainly have improved. Please don't take this as a lecture, just a suggestion for future consideration as I am very confident we both want the best for the animal(s). If a person smacks their head hard then I would certainly seek medical assistance. I feel that to a little frail bird that sort of impact is like a head-on with a car for a human, so I would suggest it's still a good idea to seek help with wildlife rescuers or a local vet who can then initiate the actions needed. :)

Araminta
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Hi Windhover,thanks for all that excellent information,it all makes so much sense to me. Sometimes, when the bird breaks the neck,it is dead! The difference is , if you take an insured animal, (what kind doesn't matter),To a vet at Toronga Zoo, or your local vet.It's the difference between life or death.In my experience "normal vets" do not bother about little birds,or they have no idea what do with them. Unless you find the right person, no chance! But I have a question: what can be done, to avoid birds flying into windows?? You can't have the curtains shut all day? Any other ideas?

M-L

Tassie

Araminta two years ago I stayed four nights in the main street of Cairns and the amount of birds that were hitting the shop windows on dark was truly astounding. On one evening walk I saw approx 15-20 birds hit the windows and bounce off onto the footpaths.
The problem in my view was that the birds were coming in to roost and were getting confused by the shop lights.
Is there anyone else that has witnessed this in Cairns ???

Windhover
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Hi Araminta,
Re: windows I really have no idea, but can ask a few people. :) That's crazy Tassie. I've never ever seen anything like that!
As for the vets, I agree. There are quite a few in my area (near the foot of the Blue Mountains) and since we deal with a lot of injured wildlife on the plains here many of the region's vets have excellent knowledge of wildlife first aid and diagnosis. The Taronga vet is here too six days and he and his wife are awesome and specialize in reptiles. There is also a bird specialist and one other clinic that do reasonably well. Our personal vets are very wonderful, but they do admit that their knowledge is somewhat limited and will at times ring to ask questions from us or from other carers, which is awesome since there are no egos there. :) There is another vet and when we find out about something there, we get the animal away from them immediately, even if then we need to fluff around finding another carer. That one we would not take our dog to. :( I will obviously not mention names of clinics. :)
I think one other problem is that many of the carers don't bother taking animals to vets as they think of themselves as "vets" having done a day's training and a few rescues here and there. This really sucks as well, since the vets then don't get the opportunity to experience wildlife emergencies thus their level of knowledge suffers. :(

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