Window hits and apparent interspecies care

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Subject: Window hits and apparent interspecies care
From: "Chris Lloyd" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:55:35 +1000
The story on the Eastern Spinebill is something I have seen with a number of
passerines (e.g. Mynahs), psittasines (particularly SC Cockatoos, galahs and
corellas) and Masked Lapwings. Pretty similar scenarios where another adult
prods and pushes the either dead or concussed conspecific. One cockatoo clan
followed me from Blakehurst to Arncliffe in Sydney when I picked a freshly
hit member of their clan and took the body home - much argument when I got
out of the car!


On the cause of death my own necropsies are similar to the points made by
Steve and the literature. Those who are found dead or unconscious and later
die have usually hemorrhaged. Those which are not fully unconscious or
concussed either make a recovery (particularly after fluid therapy) or have
neuronal compromise leading to leg weakness. Some (Kingfisher sub-adults
particularly) have taken weeks to regain full use of limbs and faculties. A
vet and myself worked through with a galah which took six weeks but returned
to the wild. There may be an issue with the type bill (e.g. long v. short)
and the amount of pressure the impact puts on the neck vertebrae and
therefore the nerves. A mate in Auckland watched in horror as an NZ Pigeon
flew straight into a thin window pane but came straight through as the
impact of the short bill was replaced by the wide flat pectoral muscle mass
- the pigeon was unscathed but the leadlight repair person made a killing.


I doubt the Spinebill had either a lesion or nerve compromise as mine
experience is that birds like this do not/cannot stand let alone fly - so
hopefully the Berry bird has gone back to reproducing its gene with it mate.


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