Treatment of Avian Pox

Sparrow

Most avian species are susceptible to one or more of the avian poxvirus strains and / or species. It has been reported that naturally occurring avian pox infections can affect about 60 species of wild birds, comprising 20 families. Poxviruses can be transmitted in a number of different ways. Even though they are unable to penetrate unbroken skin, small abrasions are sufficient to permit infection. The most common method of transmission is by means of biting insects such as mosquitos, mites, midges or flies. Many biting insects have been shown to be mechanical vectors only, transferring the virus from infected to susceptible birds by contamination of their skin-piercing mouthparts. Transmission can also occur directly by contact between infected and susceptible birds or by contact with contaminated objects, such as bird feeder perches. Aerosol transmission, although rare, can occur from viruses being carried along with dust, particularly in confined situations such as aviaries. At the time of year when vectors are at the highest numbers, avian pox transmission is greatest.1

Wood pigeon
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Jackdaw Saber – An Obituary

Jackdaw Saber
Podcast – Jackdaw Saber – An Obituary

We rescued jackdaw Saber as a juvenile bird in June 2014, after we managed to free him from his entanglement in an insufficiently deployed and damaged nylon bird net. We found him hanging head down on his leg whilst his wing was twisted and entangled in the loose strands of the damaged net. Saber must have been trapped in this position for a prolonged period of time, as he was very weak, barely responsive and in shock. Saber suffered severe soft tissue injuries to his left wing, a subluxated hock joint and a paralysis of the left foot caused by nerve damage.

Jackdaw Saber
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The Problem Of Wing Clipping

Rook

Over the years we have been contacted repeatedly by rescuers and lay people, who were caring for corvids such as magpies, jackdaws and crows, and who observed that their foster birds showed difficulties with flying despite appearing otherwise fit and healthy. Some of these birds demonstrated abnormal flight feathers and showed an unusual or even abnormal behaviour not normally expected in wild birds. A closer assessment of the plumage showed quite quickly that these birds had been wing clipped.

What is feather or wing clipping, and why is this being done?

Magpies
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When Can I Release My Rescued Corvid Fledgling?

Jackdaw nestling

At this time of the year we are contacted on a daily basis by members of the public, who have found, rescued and raised a corvid fledgling, all with good intentions of course. If we are not being contacted at the very beginning of a rescue journey, mostly for advice about the diet of corvids, then it is usually at the point where people feel that their foster bird might be ready for release soon. Unfortunately, our advice is often a disappointment if not a shock to many of these hobby rescuers, as in most cases the desired immediate release is not an option, or at least not an option which gives the foster bird a sufficient chance of survival. We do understand that circumstances will differ greatly, and that expert help is not always at hand. Therefore it is also important that the rescuer understands, that the likelihood of survival will differ greatly as well, as corvids are not belonging to those bird families, which can be hand raised by their own and hard released immediately after they have fledged. There are of course certain ways to ensure that the rescue bird gets the best second chance he or she deserves. However, to achieve the best possible outcome, decisions should ideally be made before a bird is being hand raised without appropriate company.

Carrion crow Amor and jackdaw Alyona
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