How Does It Affects Our Local Birdlife?
You may have heard of this illness in relation to birds but what is it? Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD or Beak and Feather) is a circovirus that affects Parrots, Cockatoos and Lorikeets, which are members of the Psittacine Species. It affects young birds under 3 years of age and is
spread through the Oral and Nasal cavity. A Parent bird who may have been feeding near an infected bird can transfer the virus to its young through crop milk feeding. It is also in high concentrations in feather dust and faeces, which in turn can be spread by people with the dust on their clothing and in hair. It is highly contagious.
The first signs of the virus are abnormal feather loss or lesions causing beak deformity. At this time of year, we see it in young fledglings who, upon fledging from their hollow, end up on the ground as they are unable to fly. Usually they present with abnormally short wings or no tail or both and most people mistakenly think they are babies. Once a bird shows signs of it,
their life expectancy is usually 6-12 months. Sadly – there is no cure for the Virus. Some birds can regrow the feathers but will always have the virus and keep on shedding it, infecting others.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Prevention is the best way to help control the virus.
PLEASE DO NOT put out communal feeding stations, as this is
a common way to spread the disease. Instead, plant flowering
native shrubs for bird food.
PLEASE REMEMBER – If you find an injured or sick native animal of any type – place it in a covered box in a quiet area and do not give food or water and call WILDCARE or RSPCA 24hr Hotlines for help. If a Snake, Bat or Koala do not try to handle yourself. Call for assistance.
Remember, to care for Wildlife you need specialised training and a current Permit. Wildcare members are trained free of charge and provided with mentorship.
By Sherryn Fraser (Qualified Vet Nurse)
Registered Wildlife Rescuer & Rehabilitator – Wildcare
24 HOUR HOTLINES:
WILDCARE 07 5527 2444 – RSPCA 1300ANIMAL