Kuaotunu Bird Rescue is quieter in winter time but we still take in birds on a regular basis.
In winter we see road accidents and window strikes and so on, where in summer you deal with young birds fledging and the problems that arise from that. Also in summer the population of Coromandel increases and therefore more people find injured or sick wildlife.
This time of year it is also good to get ready for a busy summer ahead. Taking stock and see what improvements we can make, sorting and stocking up on food and supplies.
Injured Spur Winged Plover
There is a reason why they are called Spur Winged Plover. The obvious nasty looking spur sticks out from the top of the wing and is not easily seen from a distance. This very vocal bird was found in a paddock not moving much.
After closer examination one of the wings was badly swollen around the “elbow’ joint and an x-ray was necessary to determine the damage.
Thanks to Peninsula Vets and their new digital X-ray developing equipment, the picture soon showed up on the screen with a shattered wing joint. But there was something else on the picture that shouldn’t have been there. Looking like a piece of metal, somewhere in the body or accidentally left on the X ray table?
As the bird wasn’t positioned perfectly on the plate it could be anything anywhere. It was decided this bird needed to be put to sleep, to stop unnecessary suffering, so I explored the joint afterwards and found the piece of metal being a slug gun bullet that had caused the bone to completely shatter.
Influx of Kereru (wood pigeons)
The last few weeks we had at least 8 kereru arrive. They all had injuries due to window strike. Some had badly fractured wings and were showing signs of head or spinal trauma. Three of them have since been released again after cage rest and pain relief.
Kereru are lovely big birds to look after and easy enough to feed. From time to time we get a few that eat by themselves from day one, but often we must try and force feed.
If very underweight we start them off on a nice warm protein porridge specially designed for birds that need to put on weight fast. It is fed with a tube straight to their crop. JJ is getting the hang of it here learning to force feed and starting with the easiest patient.
Although the Kereru is not a threatened species, and the population is stable, every bird still counts as they are the only species that are big enough to eat large fruits, like the karaka, miro, tawa and more and disperse the seeds over long distances. Their disappearance could be a disaster for the regeneration of our native forests.