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Spoonbill Rehabilitation & Release

A good news story to start off the year.

The spoonbill picked up with botulism several weeks ago has made a full recovery and today was released.

He was a little tentative and took some encouragement to get out of the crate, taking in everything around him.

Before long he took off, flew around in a loop, saying hello to a couple of egrets in passing and then landed on the other side of a small area where ducks and swamphens were foraging.

Our volunteer left him happily foraging out in the water. We hope he has a long and happy life.

The photo below is just a reminder of how sick this poor bird was when he came into our care.

We got a call to pick up the young spoonbill a few weeks ago from a vet in the southern suburbs. The spoonbill was flat and unable to stand with suspected botulism. He was found in a lake in a local housing estate, sitting in the mud and unable to move.

We gave fluids and electrolytes by tube orally and the next day the spoonbill was able to get up on his hocks although toes still curled under. He was also able to turn his head to tuck it back while he slept. He continued on fluids by tube with some added “goodies” for nutrition and was soon able to stand for short periods.

If you see a bird just sitting in one position for an extended period, or their bill is in the water and they don’t seem to be able to lift it out, please call us as soon as possible. Botulism is a paralysing disease which starts in the legs and wings and moves up until the bird has no neck control and eventually cannot breathe. They either die of suffocation or drown. With treatment many survive so it’s always important to report sightings so we can get on to it straight away.


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