magpie family

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tomboy
tomboy's picture
magpie family

I have been feeding a small magpie family (2 adult and about 1 year old baby magpie) just over a year now and I have noticed on Friday that baby seemed to have problems with one of its foot (standing on one foot while another withdrawn into his fur, reluctant to use it even though he/she is having trouble balancing)
When the baby does take its foot out, he quickly withdraw them again without barely touching the ground.
They comes for a feed 2-3 times a day and since the first feed on Friday, the baby hasn't been using the other foot...always withdrawn. ..
So just yesterday, I got a piece of clothes with intention of catching the baby by throwing the cloth over his body while he is eating. .. but failed. The bird is active and alert which makes it very difficult to catch... also I think he easily get suspicious although I have been feeding him for a while. .He always keeps his distance from me.

So I have been thinking, If it is impossible to catch him, maybe I can put antibiotic medication into his food (Oxymav B For Birds Powder 100g) for possible infection and spray a antiseptic liquid onto his foot when he temporarily take his problem foot out (I have been thinking using no needle syringe and simply shooting him with antiseptic liquid. .. like mini water gun ...onto his foot.. if possible. ..)

Any suggestions

Many thanks

Woko
Woko's picture

Tomboy, I strongly sense the concern that you have for these Magpies, particularly the young one which seems to have a disability. It seems you've spent quite a bit of time trying to improve the lot of the youngster. Injuries can have a variety of causes, some natural others not so natural such as becoming snared in human contraptions or injured by cat attacks.

From what you've written it seems that the Magpies which visit you are now dependent on your feeding them rather than being dependent on a natural environment. I'd respectfully suggest that they would be better served if you spent time providing them with natural habitat so that they might have greater protection & much more natural food sources - that's if you're not doing this already. For more information about artificial feeding of native birds could I recommend that you use the search box above.

tomboy
tomboy's picture

Although i have been feeding them for a while, the food i give (mince+insectivore mix) is just a part of their diet as i have seen them hunting food and vomiting out indigestible part of food they ate previoulsy.

what i am doing is not a 'forever or until they die old thing' so i wouldn't want them to be 100% dependent on me and forget their hunting skills or their typical diet when i cannot guarantee that i will always be with them and provide food,otherwise, they will be in trouble when im no longer there with them.

I have been considering that so i have deliberately been skipping days so that they have chance to go back to their natural habit. (Although i have not been doing this recently as its winter time and food is scarce.. and I want to fatten them up a little for winter coat)

By end of this year, i will be moving away so i won't be able to provide them with food anymore so i want to make sure that they are in good health before i leave for better chance of surviving. (I am planning to slowly withdraw the food once winter passes to prepare my leaving)

I know what i am doing is just temp solution (helping with food) and like you said.. providing a natural habitat is a great permenant long term solution for these birds but these cost resources that i do not have (i mean, you need land, plants, quality soil, introduce bugs/worm etc...)

I like to think that im just helping with their living temporarily.. within the resources i have, within my means. so that they are less hungry, less stressed out searching for food (at least, for some period of time i can provide). But i wouldn't want them to be dependent on it nor results in them producing more offspring because of it, as i believe there isn't enough natural habitat to support them (on permenant basis) so will only lead to suffering as living is going to be a struggle.

jason

tomboy, 

maybe find a bird vet, or wildlife carer, or someone who can give you more info on required medication or realities of outcome.  They may be able to assist in how to catch the bird.  You may also want to check out Noisy Myner traps and how they do it.  It can be as simple as a floorless cage suspended on one side with a stick, and food in the middle, 2/3's in.  But have confidance in the person you may take it to.  I once picked up a confussed Kookaburra from the middle of the raod after a car had clipped it.  It seemed fine but just very quiet. I took it to a general vet in the next town as we were travelling, it was a Sunday and no one wanted to meet me, so we left it in a box in a quiet corner covered over.  But when we called a couple days later, firstly they could not remember, then said oh....no, it didnt make it.  I felt like they didn't even try but can't say for sure, and I am no vet.  Probably should have just kept it and dealt with it somehow.

I'd suspect as you have been feeding them for a bit, for the bird in question to hop under the cage will only be a matter of time.  Have plenty of blankets, and you will need a hand to get it out.  It will carry on, feathers will fly, and you both will be stressed.  But if you fix it's foot than you both will forget about the stress easily.

Once better just cut the food, they will hang around and make you feel guilty for a period, but they will also move on.  Where I did live the previouse owner fed a family or Butcher birds.  I did to for a short time, they were very cool, but also expected food 2 or 3 times a day.  They become lazy.  When I introduced them to cold turkey it only took a week before they were no longer singing at my back door.     

good luck, if you honestly feel it has a problem with its foot or leg, than it can be worth the effort. 

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

tomboy
tomboy's picture

Thank you for useful information and your past experiences.

I have heard from somewhere before that some vet (especially when it comes to helping wildlife) deliberately put down animal even though it can be saved in order to save cost/trouble... since they cannot charge fee for helping wildlife.

Vet will obviously know more about the animals as they need qualification to run the clinic so trusting them that they are the expert in the field is natural. What i doubt is not really about qualification (but then again, they are human, they can forget and/or make mistakes) but about the way they make decision, what sort of factors are considered when making certain decision and i believe that sometime they do face conflict of interest... which is understandable as they are human and vet is a business where ppl need to earn money to make a living 

tomboy
tomboy's picture

Great news ~!

The baby magpie's foot has been healed. he is using them again like nothing happened and swollen is gone.

He started using them a little within a week since i have discovered the problem and now its back to normal.

I don't know whether his good immune system kicked in or the multi vitamin drop i have been adding into his food helped.

I didnt use the medication as i saw some positive signs a day before receiving the medication i have ordered (it was slow delievey which i made complaint to..... but it end up being a good thing in this case)

Woko
Woko's picture

Good news indeed, tomboy.

jason

Nice to hear, might have been doing the old one leg sympathy trick, you know the ones like seagulls pull out.  

I wonder if birds get bitten by ants. Perhaps a green ant may have been the catellus. I know my old dog got bitten now and then.    

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

tomboy
tomboy's picture

I have stopped feeding the birds and left the place for city. I guess its good bye to bird feeding as there won't be much bird in the city and also these activities are usually very restricted in the area..(prob except park).  Although i am bit relieved that I left during the Spring but the weather is still more like a winter unfortunately. i wasn't able to see the magpie on the last day as other magpie family moved into the area just few days before and i think they kicked them out.. not a good timing for me.

Incase they return, i have put minced meat around the area where they used to eat as well as some live mealworms and beatles i got from the pet store but i doubt they won't last very long considering increasing competition among birds in the area as well as weather condition and lack of natural habitat for insects to settle down and breed.

I went to few suburb past few month and there seems to be lot of construction going on for building homes and shopping centre even in the area that i considered to be a country/farm only just few years ago. I saw lot of "green" area getting cleaned out for buildings and started to feel bit concerned for the future of wild life in general.

Maybe there may come a time in future when these common birds become a rare sighting.

These animal's future seems bleak when considering how much natural habitat is being destroyed to accomodate already over flowing human population. Its an irony that the best permanent solution for them is to give back what we took (and still taking) which will never happen (at least, definitely not in same scale/speed that is currently happening)

Woko
Woko's picture

Tomboy, are there opportunities to grow plants indigenous to where you're now living? Do you have any remnant bushland near your residence that you might want to join others in protecting from the ravages of human insensitivity? Just because you live in a city doesn't mean all is lost. Who knows, there may be others living nearby who would join you in restoring some natural habitat in your neighbourhood. Even small habitat patches can be helpful to some wildlife, especially if they can eventually be linked. It's happened before & it can happen again right where you are.

Australians are great copiers of overseas trends. So there is the clear potential for the restoration of natural habitats in London to be copied in Australian cities. If you start the trend where you are you may find yourself in a vanguard of habitat restorers.

tomboy
tomboy's picture

any bush area in my area is a park and outdoor green area on top floor of the apartment which ppl use for bbq and dog walking.

but these places are already 'established area' (all area are designated, some for trees/bush and some area for human leisure/entertainment)  and i don't think one can just plant any type of plants anywhere in the area without permission (if any planting is allowed in the first place, afterall, they would want to maintain certain look/image for people's viewing).

I do think that there will always be trees and grass (nature) around where ppl lives as many do appreciate seeing greenery stuff and the job these plants do in cleaning the surrounding air is beneficial for their health. But the nature most want is not the true wild nature where soils are infested with bugs/micro organisms and insects and animals thrives but just a particualr portion of the nature that is only pleasurable and beneficial to themselves and not so much for other living things. Im not sure about other place but parks around the city are very neat and clean. you hardly see any insects and birds that comes around looks for leftover food scraps

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
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