As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Badly burned cockatoo given new feathers with superglue and matchsticks

Endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo treated by vets at Perth Zoo after it was badly burnt on a power line
Calla Wahlquist
Friday 7 April 2017 03.26 BST Last modified on Friday 7 April 2017 04.22 BST 

Vets at Perth zoo have used matchsticks and glue to replace the flight feathers of a Carnaby’s cockatoo which was badly injured after it was burned on a power line.

Using a syringe to coat the donor feathers with superglue and a matchstick to shape the quill, vets replaced the juvenile bird’s feathers and cut away the burnt remains in an effort to help it fly again.

The bird, which is an endangered species, was taken to the zoo’s vet hospital late last month. After a week recuperating and gaining weight, it was deemed fit enough to undergo surgery on Monday.

 “This little guy was unfortunately burned when the bird sitting next to him exploded on power lines, so we needed to replace his feathers,” said a vet, Peter Ricci. “He’s faring quite well, he is a young bird so he is eating quite well and he’s begging for food so he has made some great improvements so far.

“Just to think, that poor little baby would have been sitting on that power line next to his mum or his dad and that bird unfortunately has gone up in flames and passed away as well,” he said. 

The procedure to replace the feathers is called “imping”, something Ricci said was fairly common on domestic birds whose wings had been trimmed too short, and on wild birds of prey with damaged flight feathers.

“It’s a pretty basic procedure,” he said. “We use pretty basic tools – just matchsticks and superglue, really. The trick is to get the right feather in the right place and the right angles before the glue dries so there’s a little bit of tricky work to getting the features in place but it’s not rocket science overall.”

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