Re: breeding sunbirds, constant failures

Subject: Re: breeding sunbirds, constant failures
From: Macwhirter <>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 19:15:53 +1000
Hi all,

The points you make are good ones, David. Government authorities and
conservation groups need to work in co-operation and concerns aired
appropriately, if they are occurring. From a veterinary view point this is
a single hen with neonatal mortality in successive clutches. All of the
possibilities that Steve etc raised are valid but I would also wonder about
an oviduct infection, either viral or bacterial, that might be causing weak
chicks or an incubation problem or a nutritional deficiency. If it is the
only bird affected it is not likely of significance to the sunbird
population. If there were many birds affected then following the case up
diagnostically might be important.

Have other people been reporting similar problems?

Pat Macwhirter
Registered Specialist in Bird Medicine
Highbury Veterinary Clinic

>I think we should be very careful before advocating "conspiracy" theories.
>Naturally high failure rates among birds are a fact of life, this is likely
>to be even more so around human habitation were higher densities of
>predators may occur.  If papaya fruit fly control methods are a problem, as
>suggested, then this needs to be addressed.  Simply denying DPI access to
>properties and preventing them carrying out essential pest monitoring
>and/or control can be counter productive, doing nothing for the image of
>birders, or birds, among country people.
>In many areas it is through rural communities that conservation of our
>birds and their habitat, particularly endangered species, start.  Many of
>us have worked very hard at cultivating these communities and in a lot of
>cases this is now paying dividends with a slow change of attitude and an
>associated change on the ground where it really matters.  If such an
>"incident" were to happen in the area where I have been active, for
>example, without substantial proof it would certainly alienate much of the
>community and set the cause back by years.
>If fruit fly control is of concern perhaps conservation groups, including
>Birds Australia, should investigate and attempt to remedy the situation.
>By all means such concerns should be aired, they may prove to be important,
>but we should be working towards common goals and this is often best
>achieved as a community.
>David Geering

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