Bird buffs flock to es­caped bud­gies’ res­cue

Bud­gies are a pop­u­lar pet thanks to their tem­per­a­ment and bright plumage

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - HAMDI ISSAWI BER­NADETTE NEUMANN/CON­TRIB­UTED

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A few frigid and feath­ered fugi­tives found refuge af­ter a group of Good Sa­mar­i­tans spent the day scram­bling around a north-side neigh­bour­hood try­ing to save some birds that some­how flew the coop. Ber­nadette Neumann was walk­ing her dog at Klar­vat­ten Park on Mon­day morn­ing when she heard an un­usual “cheep” over­head.

“I looked up in this tree and there was no leaves, just yel­low, green, blue guys sit­ting there,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow, those aren’t na­tive birds to Al­berta, that’s for sure.’”

Na­tive to Aus­tralia, bud­gies are pop­u­lar pets thanks to their tem­per­a­ment and bright plumage. How the Ber­nadette Neumann was walk­ing her dog at Klar­vat­ten Park on Mon­day morn­ing when she spot­ted a group of bud­gies clumped to­gether in a tree.

birds got out­side is any­one’s guess at this point, but what’s cer­tain is that they were ille­quipped for a chilly Ed­mon­ton es­capade.

An an­i­mal health tech­ni­cian

by trade, and bird owner her­self, Neumann knew as much and made a bee­line home, across the street from the park, for a but­ter­fly net and cage. Spot­ting about six

or seven, she hoped to scoop as many as she could to warmth and safety.

“They were cold and clumped to­gether, some of them could hardly hang on to the branches,” Neumann added. “They were slip­ping and fall­ing off.”

She man­aged to catch one, but the rest re­mained out of reach, so she de­cided it was time to call for re­in­force­ments. Meika’s Safe­house, a Sher­wood Park re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re-hom­ing cen­tre for area birds, just east of Ed­mon­ton, got her call that morn­ing and put an alert out over Face­book shortly af­ter.

“Our na­tive birds have adapted to eat re­ally fatty, oily seeds to help main­tain their tem­per­a­ture,” said Ian Sprague, di­rec­tor of the cen­tre. “For these bud­gies ... their phys­i­ol­ogy isn’t geared for this at all. Even if they eat these fatty, oily seeds, they’re not go­ing to me­tab­o­lize it cor­rectly to keep them warm.”

Within an hour of the on­line ap­peal, a vol­un­teer ap­peared in the park to help Neumann in the res­cue mis­sion — and five oth­ers shortly af­ter that. By sun­set, the group man­aged to col­lect nine birds.

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