Care tips for baby birds

Alpine Observer - - Regional Extra -

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.

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