red wattlebird question

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Krystyna
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red wattlebird question

Hi everyone,

I am new to this group and very relieved to have found it. I have a few questions about two wattlebirds who love my front garden because it has many plants for them to enjoy, especially a variety of grevillea. The other day we found one of the birds hopping about, not flying, with one of its wings drooping, so we called the wonderful Wildlife Victoria and, with some difficulty (because he insisted on hopping ontp the tallest trees until eventually coming back to his favourite grevilleas then next day), he was caught. He was taken to a vet and is now recoering with wing bandaged in a wildlife shelter. My heart breaks when I see his mate, because it seems to be looking for him, though luckily it is still eating. My question is: how long will the mate wait for its partner? The injured bird will eventually be released back into my garden, but I don't know how long it will take until he's ready for release. Does anyone know how long its wing will take to heal? thanks, Krystyna

Araminta
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Hi Krystyna, lucky bird to have been found by a caring person like youyesheart There are a few people on this forum, who are wildlife carers, they might know wow long it might take to heal.I'm sure they will answer your question.

I know from experience, that when birds fly into windows, (that happens at my place from time to timecrying), the partner doesn't wait for a long time. (it's us that would like to think so) Last year I had a mother and baby Lewin's Honeyeater . She was feeding the young in a shrub outside my windows, when the little one flew into it and was out of it for some time. Mum came over, still with some food in her beak, had one look. decided that baby wasn't well, stayed for about 2 minutes calling the little one...... and left. She decided, it's not going to make it and simply left it with me. The young one recovered after a long time under a towel, I put it back under the same shrub, but have no idea if mum picked it up?

Not only birds accept quickly that death is final. One of our horses had a foal some years back,it only lived for two days. We left the foal in the paddock, so mum could see the dead foal. For one hour she kept coming back to see if the little one would get up to drink. But then she knew there was no point and left.

Birds will be even more accepting that their partners are not coming back, something that happens to them all the time.

M-L

Krystyna
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Hi Araminta,

thank you for your response. I do hope, though, that when the bird is released back here, that it will reunite with its partner:) So far the partner is just here by itself, no new mate as yet, so this might mean it is still waiting?

dwatsonbb
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Hi Krystyna, am one of the people M-L was talking about, if the wing is broken, might be 6-8 weeks before iit can fly again, if it is muscular maybe 2 weeks (hopefully less). i am just home from rescuing a Southern Boobook with an injured wing, will care for overnight and take to my favourite bird friendly vet tomorrow. I will ask him if he can give a more acurrate time frame, and reply tomorrow. Will hopefully post photos of Boobook some time tomorrow.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Krystyna
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Thank you Dale! (I forgot to add that I am in Melbourne, though I don't think it matters as these wattlebirds are in Tassie as well).  I would love you to ask the vet what he thinks, and also to get an opinion if possible about how long the mate might wait for its partner? Does it stand to reason that because the two of them were at my grevilleas and Silver Princess every day (and also enjoyed digging around in the native grasses), that the mate of the wounded bird will continue to come back every day? I wish I could speak bird language to reassure the partner that his mate is OK!!! Krystyna

dwatsonbb
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We have Yellow Wattle Birds (endemic to Tassie) and Little Wattle Birds, but not reds. the healing time will be the same regardless of the species, but will also depend on how severe the injury is. I suspect that the mate will stick around while there is a good supply of food. Happy to talk to the vet, and may have an answer about lunchtime tomorrow. Will advise either way.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Woko
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Hi Krystyna. Be prepared for the pining red wattle bird to find another mate before its injured mate returns from sick leave. If this happens then be prepared for fireworks on the mate's return as the birds fight over partners. However, if the plants from which the red wattlebird is feeding stop flowering it's likely that it'll move on to another food source.

Congratulations on your native grasses. They're an often-overlooked part of our ecosystems but provide wonderful resources for birds.

dwatsonbb
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Hi Krystyna, my original times for healing were roughly correct, James (the vet) suggested it is like a piece of string! Depends on the damage done, and how the individual copes with stress and the healing process. Shock is a huge killer of birds, so if you come accross something again, if you need to handle, cover the head (eyes at least - a sock can do this well) warm dark place and not to be disturbed, nothing to eat or drink, unless advised by a vet or experienced carer. Often I have done this, only to be emabarrased, when arriving at the vet to find the bird has passed, just unfortunate, but part of the deal. Muscular problems could be as little a a few days (usually at least 24 hours observation), and a fracture many weeks. James will always make sure the bird can fend for itself (hunt/feed and fly) before release is allowed. We have had many birds come through our doors (usually hold overnight for later transport), and can rehydrate those that need it by tube feeding (until transport to the vet is possible), but this is very controlled (tube placement and volume), and not to be done by untrained people. Sorry if I have rabbited on a bit, but some of this may be beneficial to others reading this thread. Oh remove the sock before closing the lid on the box. Remember warm not too hot, inside with a towel or blanket in the box is usually fine, protect from cold draughts.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Krystyna
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Hi Dale,

thank you very much for your advice and very helpful answer. I will try to get in touch with the wildlife shelter to ask how long they think he might be in rehab :) but it's true that they may not even know. I do hope he hasn't died of shock; that would then make me feel bad about moving him at all! I mean he was doing all right hopping around, and he had a food source, but I guess he would have been vulerable to attack by rats/ cats etc eventually.... It's so hard isn't it, knowing when to intervene in nature's processes, but then again, a lot of what happens to birds nowadys has nothing to do with nature and more to do with our environment invading theirs and our obstacles getting in their way! His mate is still around though not so often ... I guess he must get on with things, even if that means finding a new mate...

thanks again for your kind assistance.

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