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.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Adorable kākāpō chick undergoes world-first bird brain surgery

A kākāpō chick has had its life saved after undergoing the world's first ever bird brain surgery.
The chick, known as Espy 1B, was born in the wild on Codfish Island and was in the care of the Department of Conservation's (DoC's) kākāpō recovery team.
Rangers noticed an unusual lump on Espy's head, and sent him to Dunedin Wildlife Hospital for a CT scan. There, it was discovered his skull hadn't fused properly.
"The chick was hatched with a hole in its skull that allowed part of the brain and dura (the tough barrier around the brain) to herniate out," said Massey University's Wildbase Hospital director Professor Brett Gartrell.
"In humans, this spot fuses after birth, but this is highly unusual in birds as the skull has finished fusing prior to hatch."
The concern was that Espy's soft spot left him open to trauma and infection.
Kākāpō are critically endangered, so there was only one thing for it - it was time for Espy to have brain surgery.
Espy was transported to Wildbase Hospital, and last Monday a team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians led by Professor Gartrell carried out the risky surgery.

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