APRIL is known as Animal Anti Cruelty month and in plight of the high influx of King Fisher Birds being admitted to the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) covered in repellent gel, there is a cry for a more caring people to rise up and be responsible in being a voice for animals.
Alcedinidae or better known as Kingfishers are a family of small to medium-sized, brightly coloured birds. This bird was recently spotted at the Amanzimtoti Bird Park by a bird watcher, Ansie Coester which resulted in birders from all over the province coming in to Amanzimtoti to get a chance to spot this uncommon bird that is highly sought.
What is happening is that these birds are admitted into Crow all covered in bird repellent gel.
Crow’s Chandré de Bruyn said: “The theory behind these gels is that a bird lands on a surface coated with it, feels a foreign substance and fly’s away. Sadly, what happens in a lot of cases is that the gel, which is a glue type consistency, gets on the birds wings, chest, tail and feathers and causes them to stick together which in turn hinders their ability to fly properly.”
It is said that the gel often covers the face of the bird which blocks their nasal passages which eventually results in the birds starving to death as they are not able to fly and find food.
De Bruyn said it takes the nurses at Crow a couple of days or sometimes weeks to remove these products from the birds.
“At times, the inside of the beaks are caked in the gel too, contributing to the fact that the birds starve and battle to breathe. In various cases where birds have tried to pull themselves away from the gel, they dislocate their wings, damage their muscles or legs,” saidd De Bruyn.
The NSPCA recently shared some guidance on how to control birds with kindness:
• Contact Eagle Eye Bird Control for an effective, but harmless bird control solution. The Eagle Eye is an effective bird deterrent device that harmlessly relocates birds. Birds are irritated by reflected light beams that flash at various angles from a rotating Eagle Eye unit.
• Use exclusion methods like netting and making areas inaccessible.
• Make an area available for birds to rest, drawing them away from the areas they are not wanted.
• Do not leave food out or feed birds, this draws in more birds.
• Remove eggs from the areas to prevent breeding from taking place, if you do not wish annual visits by the feathery creatures. (Only do this after you have checked with your local SPCA and Nature Conservation regarding legality as the birds may be a protected species.)
• Place strands of light wire across the perching areas, parallel with each other, not too widely apart, which will prevent the birds from perching.
• Do not use any poisons, glue or any kind of gels as these cause flight problems and or painful and secondary poisoning.
Hunting or shooting birds does not solve the problem as others will come to feed and perch. A humane all-encompassing preventative programme must be put in place.