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Treating fragile creatures

Birds are surprisingly fragile creatures, especially when it comes to illness – but some help and a close watch can avert unfortunate accidents.

How does one identify internal bleeding in a bird?

Internal bleeding can be caused due to collisions or malfunctioning of the body organs. It is often difficult to identify. If a bird has difficulty in breathing – usually under such circumstances they open and close their beaks since they're using their mouth to breathe, it is probably due to an internal injury. Other signs include an unbalanced walk, inability to keep their head straight up, sleepiness, change in colour of droppings and sometime even bleeding from the mouth. You should rush to the vet if you suspect internal bleeding.

Can I move a bird's nest, with eggs in it if I sense danger?

It is a myth that parent birds abandon their young ones or eggs if they've been touched by a human. Birds do not have a strong sense of smell. They rely on their eyes and ears for locating their nests. However, if a bird senses the danger of predation they prefer not to spend energy on protecting the nest and instead, abandon the nest.

If you sense danger, you can relocate the nest to a safer region. Try and do it with the parents watching. Observe closely to ensure that the birds are able to find their way back to the nest and then leave it undisturbed so that they can feel safe in it.

A bird just collided with the glass window of my house. It is injured. How can I start with first-aid?

Most often window collisions happen because birds mistake reflections in the glass for something real. They do not recognise glass as a solid surface.

A bird's beak will often hit the window first, forcing the head up and allowing the chest to take the brunt of the collision. This causes internal injuries. A severe head-on collision often results in brain bleeding and neurological damage even if the bird is somehow able to fly off on its own. If so, it will die shortly.

If you find a bird on its back, bleeding from its mouth or if its neck appears to be broken with laboured breathing, it is most likely going to die. You could try rushing to the vet. If that is not possible, place it in a small box in a protected place, cover it, and let it humanely die.

If the situation is not so severe, pick the injured bird using both hands. Do so by cupping your hands together and placing them under the chest of the bird. Ensure that it is in the right body orientation (feet down, wings and back up) for proper neurological functioning.

The bird needs rest to recover. Place in a container, a multi-folded piece of cotton fabric to lay the injured bird on that will support its head and body in an upright position while regaining consciousness. You can sprinkle some water on the cotton. You can place a branch in the container for the bird's convenience. Place the bird in the container. Drape a towel on the container to avoid light and let it rest. 'Only' once the bird has regained consciousness and strength, try to provide it with water – using cotton or a dropper. Once it has woken up, take the container outside and remove the lid to let it fly off.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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