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Bird Biology 3 – Caring for Birds.

I can put this post in 2 sections but each bird is a specialised species. Now I will begin with the only White Swan I have seen in New Zealand. I took this photo on Puketutu Island in Auckland’s Manukau harbour. There is a road from Auckland’s sewage works to Puketutu Island the canal the birds live in is clean. However, in the summer time the birds get botulism.

This is a Black Swan, which is plentiful in New Zealand, also living near Puketutu Island. For 2 years in a row, the water care people picked up dead birds with botulism. It’s very catching and I recommend you don’t pick up a sick or dead bird with botulism unless you want the disease yourself and it can kill you as well.

So how did the birds get botulism? High heat, humidity and growth of poison inside the water. Where did the poison come from?

The water that comes from the sewage plant is actually drinkable, experts from Sweden come to see how we do it.

No the poison is from the bread people throw to Ducks and to the Swans and other bird life.

Yes, it’s the bread that grows rotten in the water and poisons the birds.

So hows that for food for thought. Don’t throw bread into the water.! Unless you want dead birds.

Birds are not human. Birds are Birds. Bread is one of the worst foods you can give them. However if you throw bread on the ground not near the water, it’s not as bad.

Next on the list to care for birds is caged birds.

Introducing my lovely Louis, our budgie. I got him from Bird Rescue. He was 2 years old when we got him he was very angry. He had been moved from pillar to post. Well, he’s 10 years old now and he is very much loved.

Don’t only give Budgies bird seed from the supermarket. If you just feed them that they will have a short life span. I give him special vets Harrison’s formula as well. 2 teaspoons of Harrisons formula, and a teaspoon of budgie seed. Plus some leafy greens every day and fresh water. Make sure the leafy greens are washed in cold water and clean.

They need sterilised grit, tree branch for perches or cloth covered perched.  A cuttle fish.

Food to be changed every day.

Every day this cage must be cleaned.

Occasionally I take him to Bird & Exotics Vet clinic to have a check up.

Essentially, they need a lot of love. Talk to them constantly. How would you feel if you were left in a cage by yourself and had no one to talk to?

If we go out he either goes with us, or he gets the radio turned on to listen to.

Now if he goes in the car, he is not left in a hot car.

Never leave an animal shut up in a hot car. Their organs fry inside. The windows gets turned down a little and he is looked at to see he’s Ok.

Next if you see a sick bird that has not got botulism. This Black bird is not sick. If it’s alive and you can see it’s not well. Covered it lightly carry it in a box with some soft padding. Keep it warm and take it to the nearest bird rescue to you or to the SPCA.

When feeding a bird, first identify what species the bird is. Different birds eat different things.

A Black bird eats some bread but it prefers either fruit or small insects or slugs or snails.

Know what a bird must not be fed.

Provide fresh water.

Keep the facilities clean and fresh.

Feed the bird at the same time every day.

Make feeding interesting for the bird.

Next you need to observe the bird. See if you notice is it’s upright. It’s eyes bright.

There is much more to learn, as all birds are different.

If there are some garden birds and a predatory bird arrives then the birds may hide from it for obvious reasons.

Be sure to catch the next session on Birds.

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Written by Pamela Moresby

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