Don’t Feed the Wildlife!

Australian King Parrot (male) – Photo: K Vang and W Dabrowka © Bird Explorers.

 

THE deaths of large numbers of king parrots in Queensland has brought into focus the question of feeding birds and other wildlife.

As they are a common species in Port Stephens along with rosellas and lorikeets it is perhaps wise for us to look at the most probable cause of their demise and take action to protect them.

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It appears from the scientific analysis of the dead birds that ‘spironucleus yeast’, an infection that stops the intestines absorbing nutrients, is the culprit for this wasting condition.

In turn, this is most probably contracted from bird baths and feeders in domestic backyards.

In the wild, birds forage over a wide range and don’t congregate en masse.

This lowers the risk of cross infection from parasites and disease.

If residents want to encourage the birds, it is better to plant nectar bearing native shrubs such as bottlebrush or to scatter native bird feed over a wide area.

This cuts down the risk of spreading infections.

Bird baths should be hosed out on a regular basis for the same reason.

When it comes to possums, it is unwise to feed them yeast bearing food such as bread and biscuits.

This can lead to a painful, fatal condition which sees their hair fall out.

Leave them to forage for themselves.

It is illegal to trap and relocate them as they are territorial and will not fit into other possums’ areas.

 

By Geoff WALKER

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