Magpie foot problem - need some pointers!

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Brumby's picture
Magpie foot problem - need some pointers!

We have a magpie family that we occasionally offer some food, but the baby (at least 6 months old) has developed a nasty looking 'growth' on his feet - and it seems to be starting to bother him/her.  (Picture attached.)

I need help in identifying the problem and what treatments to apply - or if referral to a vet will be necessary.

However, as these are wild animals, I do not want to try to capture the baby if at all possible, but I believe we could treat it by additives to the food and/or a wading bath.

I'd like to know the best course to take.  

Woko's picture

Looks like one for a vet or a wildlife carer, Brumby. If you type <wildlife carer> into the search box near the top of this page you should get information about wildlife carers near you. Otherwise, there are a number of wildlife carers who are members of Birds In Backyards who would be able to provide you with information. Just post your whereabouts.

I'd also be inclined to provide conditions as natural as possible. This would mean, among other things, ceasing artificial feeding. I know of a family that insisted on artificially feeding Magpies (& Sulphur-crested Cockatoos) & two of the Magpies suffered deformities. Whether there's a connection between the deformities & the artificial food is hard to say but the cautionary principle would be applicable I would think.

Brumby's picture

The feeding is kept to a minimum - just a 'treat'.  We much prefer to see them foraging on their own, developing natural skills.  We don't want to make them dependant on us - nor get into nutrition problems.

As for assistance, I made a report to WIRES and I have received a call back.  They will be getting someone in the area to assist.

Thank you for your response.

Devster's picture

Good on you for taking action Brumby and keep us up to date with what happens.

Brumby's picture

WIRES called me back this morning.  Gave me a phone number and reference number.

They also said I would need to contain the bird so it could be examined by a vet before they would treat it - but this goes against the grain.  Capturing a wild animal just doesn't sit well with me - especially since we have gained their trust.  The affected bird is a juvenile and will fly to my arm even before the food is visible.

I would rather an alternative method - but if it has to be, then I may just have to suck it up for the greater good.

dwatsonbb's picture

Wild birds are hard to treat, if the care is not just "one dose", it may be best to capture the bird, have it contained for a period of treatment (perhaps a couple of days) and then it can be released at your place once treatment is finished. It may well be fine without treatment. The other side is to "let nature take its course" what will be will be? A hard call to make. 

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

illawarra gardener
illawarra gardener's picture

We have a juvenile magpie who visits our garden and I noticed that it also has the same kind of problem on one of its toes, and is tentative stepping on that foot.

I dont want to try to catch it, as they are not domesticated. I will ask a friend who is a WIRES bird carer.

Woko's picture

Good move, illawarra gardener. 

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