Mystery illness affecting galahs
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 2:39
City Parrots in Disease, Eolophus roseicapilla - Galah

Galah's (Eolophus roseicapillus). Image Werner WitteFollowing the mystery deaths of a large number of birds last winter, an equally curious affliction seems to be affecting galahs this year, with a number of mature birds suddenly unable to fly and falling about in what appears to be an unco-ordinated and drunken state.

The symptoms do not seem to match any of the usual listed galah sicknesses.

One of these birds was examined by a vet who could not find anything physically wrong, but suggested a couple of days of rest might do the trick.

A second bird that appeared to be in a similar state was also picked up and the pair were kept warm inside a box overnight and released into a large outdoor cage with feed and water available during the daytime.

After about a week the birds seem to have recovered enough to regain their flight skills although still appear somewhat wonky and not quite ready for release.

A number of dead birds were also seen around town, including in parks, about the same time, although grounded ones that aren’t picked up straight away can quickly fall victim to the cold and predators, including the unkind human kind.

Last year’s large number of galah deaths remained a mystery despite autopsies carried out by a vet and further testing at the Macarthur Institute in Sydney. These birds were found dead in spread wing positions under trees in parks, along the riverbank and in the grounds of the TAFE campus.

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