Care tips for baby birds
IN spring and summer we often see a lot of baby birds brought into the clinic, and we love that people are looking out for our wildlife, but sometimes these birds might just be tackling their ‘first steps’.
- If you see a baby bird on the ground, unless it is in obvious or immediate danger (for example on a road or being stalked by a cat) watch from afar. This will give you a chance to get an idea of what kind of bird it is, and whether mum and dad are keeping an eye on things.
of birds – precocial and altricial.
Precocial birds are ready to go from birth, they are covered in down and have their eyes open, they can feed themselves soon after they hatch. Often their nests are on the ground. These include ducklings, plovers, brush turkeys, and swamphens.
Altricial birds are born without feathers or down, their eyes closed and are completely dependent on the parents for warmth and food. These birds are often in nests up in trees and bushes, and include honeyeaters, parrots, pigeons, magpies, insectivores, carnivores and raptors.
featherless, it will need care from its parents to keep it warm. If you can see a nest nearby and the baby appears healthy, you can put it back into its nest. If the bird is sick or injured, or if you know its parents are dead, then it will need to be taken to your vet or wildlife carer for care.
If it has considerable down or feathers and you know the parents are nearby but you cannot reach the nest, you can put them into a makeshift nest made out of a bucket, with a branch for access in and out, drainage holes in the bottom, and leaves and sticks inside, (see website below for more information).
have just left the nest and are learning to fly. They often will fall out or seem to be fluttering around on the ground. Fledglings have a significant number of adult looking feathers, not just down. The parents are often watching fromm nearby trees. Fledglings are the birds that are most often ‘rescued’ when they are in fact not in distress. If these birds are in danger, place them onto a nearby branch off the ground.
It is a myth that adult birds will abandon their young if they can smell that humans have handled them, they identify them by their call, so you are not doing any harm by putting a nestling back into its nest, or a fledgling onto a branch.
For more information check out www.wildcare.org.au/ Pages/Birds.html, or .www. wildlifevictoria.org.au.
Any birds obviously injured or unwell should be taken into your vet for an assessment.
It is a very good idea to make note of where you found the bird, and see if the parents are anywhere in sight so that if we can release it, we will know where to go.
Julia Smith, veterinarian
October is national Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by 85 is one in eight for women and one in 631 for men.
More information about breast cancer care and related services is available by calling (03) 5722 5473. Helpful links BreastScreen Victoria: www.breastscreen.org.au.
National Breast Cancer Foundation: nbcf.org.au. Anne-Marie’s story Among the women in the North East living with breast cancer is Goorambat resident Anne-Marie Greenway, who was diagnosed in July with metastatic breast cancer that has also spread to her bones.
It was discovered after she saw her doctor to address some recurring rib pain.
“I would ask women – and men too – to take advantage of every possible check.
“But it can’t always be found – mine shows it has been there for some time but was missed on my last breast screen (noone’s fault as it was well-hidden), and can still not be felt by myself.
“X-rays showed my ribs and spine were full of pockets of cancer (which will now be turned into holes, making my bones more fragile), and this was then traced back to being the secondary to breast cancer.”
But Anne-Marie, already a survivor of an unrelated brain tumour over eight years ago, said she has been very pleased with the help she has received so far.
“I was very impressed with the way the health system kicked in after my diagnosis, and I immediately had scans and mammograms, visited a breast surgeon and two oncologists.
“I was sent straight to Albury for radiation treatment on my bones, which I have been told is ‘spot-welding’ on the holes in my ribs and spine.”
She is currently personally campaigning to have a drug “which could significantly help me”, palbociclib, placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as it currently costs $60,000 a year to buy it.
The alternative to the drug is a round of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
“I currently see a breast care nurse named Kerry, who has been wonderful,” she added, saying that her GP and other allied health professionals have also been helpful.
“Health-wise I have been doing far better than expected, with pain levels being really low so far, and lots of support.”
You can assist Anne-Marie in her fight to get palbociclib on the PBS by completing a consumer survey at www.pbs.gov.au/ info/industry/listing/elements/pbacmeetings/pbac-consumer-comments.