Diseased king parrots falling at a rapid rate

Diseased king parrots falling at a rapid rate

King parrots are dying around the acorn tree near the outdoor swimming pool but it’s not the acorns that are killing them, it’s a disease called Spironucleosis.

Wildlife rescuer, Lorna King, takes the affected king parrots to the vets to be euthanased and during the course of this winter has taken three to five birds a day.

“We need to euthanase as many as we can to save as many as we can,” Mrs King said.

“The disease spreads via spittle and faeces, it’s just been such a bad year, the worst I’ve seen for the past five years.”

Main Street Veterinary Clinic veterinarian Grant Kuseff said the disease was always present in the bird population but it became more of an issue in colder months when there were less food options around.

“It’s more likely to spread from bird to bird when there is an aggregation of birds, particularly where wellmeaning people feed them,” Dr Kuseff said.

“The disease damages the lining of their gut, the affected birds are reasonably bright but very skinny and can still bite if picked up.”

According to Wildlife Health Australia, affected king parrots are usually juveniles and the survival rate is poor regardless of treatment. The clinical signs are emaciation, diarrhoea, weakness, depression, and faecal matting around the vent.

Mrs King said she had only come across one sick male in the past five years.
“They’re such magnificent birds, it’s so sad, the Main Street vets are wonderful in many ways and such a good support,” Mrs King said.

PICTURED: Lorna King


Print