A closer look and you can see the tube that allows the team to deliver food, fluids, and medications directly into the kererū’s stomach, letting the jaw heal. The beak is taped shut to also help with healing and to ensure the jaw is aligned correctly. A full tummy is followed with some water to flush the tube and aid with the bird’s hydration.
Have you ever broken your jaw? If so, we know you went through a tough time as it healed. Eating would have been a challenge!
Imagine how a broken jaw in a bird must feel. Eating is impossible and unless the bird is admitted into a rehabilitation facility, it would not survive.
Thankfully, when a kererū arrived recently with just such an injury, our team knew just what to do. Its upper and lower jaw bones were broken on one side, probably from flying into a window or being hit by a car.
The BirdCare Aotearoa team swung into action and performed surgery to help this beautiful bird. First an oesophageal tube was inserted into its stomach through an incision in its neck, allowing food and medications to be gently put directly into the bird’s stomach while letting the fractures heal. Next, the beak was taped together, helping the bones to heal in the proper position, just as a cast on your arm would.
Now we wait. Within a week, this bird’s fractures will have formed a solid callus that means we can remove the tube and tape. In the meantime, the kererū is resting comfortably in one of two beautiful incubators which were gratefully purchased with funds raised at an event at the Titirangi Theatre.
Here at the centre, we never know what will come in, and even through lockdown we have received between 10 and 20 birds daily. Our facility has undergone significant changes to make it a professional bird hospital, meaning our team is able to cope with most mishaps that befall our wonderful, feathered neighbours.
During lockdown we have been preparing for spring and the influx of hundreds of baby birds. We do hope they can stay with their own parents as they really do the best job; however, if that is not possible, we are able to care for them here. If you find a baby bird and cannot see where it came from, please keep it warm and bring it to BirdCare Aotearoa. If you need to hold it overnight, do NOT feed it; instead, keep it warm, quiet, and comfy in a box lined with towelling, in your hot water closet. Bring it in as soon as possible in the morning, or take it to the nearest emergency vet clinic.
Lynn Miller, CWR PhD