Wattlebirds and Toadstools

To: <>
Subject: Wattlebirds and Toadstools
From: "jill dark" <>
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 16:52:00 +1100
Hi Everyone,

As I received several replies to my previous posting I thought some of you
may be interested in the full story and I can correct a couple of errors I
made the first time.

This description was give to me by the Wires rescuer concerned.  The call
came through to Wires in late afternoon that birds were falling from the sky
in Katoomba.  When the rescuer arrived the first thing she saw were two red
wattlebirds almost dead in the middle of the road, necks twisted, wings
spread out and legs splayed.  One was bleeding from the eyes, the other had
the third eyelid over the eyes.  Both were barely moving and the pulse was

A thorough search found 22 more birds (all red wattlebirds).  Some were
lying on their sides, four were perched in trees, fluffed up and with heads
down, and others were lying were lying where they had fallen, either in the
garden or road.  The callers advised that they had seen the birds converge
on the toadstools (Amanita muscaria) and start to eat them.  Our rescuer
checked several of the toadstools and found that the red fleshy tops had
been extensively pecked at but the white part of the fungi had not been
eaten.  One wattlebird (a juvenile) was observed pecking at the toadstool
during the rescue and when approached moved away.  Within 2 minutes he was
dead.  He fell down, convulsed and died.  Blood was coming from his eyes and
his body was limp.

In all, 24 birds were rescued and a further 2 flew away (they seemed to be
OK).  12 birds died before the rescuer could treat them.  3 of them were
adults, 9 were juveniles.  Some had blood coming from their eyes, others had
the third eyelid across or their eyes rolled back.  All had limp necks,
splayed legs and spread wings.  Some had thick, yellow diarrhoea.

The remaining 12 birds were slowly warmed and then give tepid water with
lectade.  They were very thirsty and took the fluid readily from an
eyedropper.  They could still not support their heads and some were
convulsing intermittently.  They were kept on heat and give fluids
throughout the night.  The next morning all appeared fully recovered.  They
were give another drink and released.  All flew well and dispersed.  A few
stayed around for a couple of days, feeding, drinking and flying normally.

The rescue area was checked over the next few days and no other birds were


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