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Passerines and other small birds

image of Passerines and other small birds
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Abstract

Small birds, especially young birds of the common peri-domestic species, form a significant proportion of the total number of wildlife casualties presented at rehabilitation units in Britain. Species covered include passerines and allied orders, including cuckoos, swifts, kingfishers and woodpeckers. This chapter covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of chicks; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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Figures

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30.2 (a) Nestling blackbird (). Nestlings will solicit their parents to feed them by calling and gaping their mouths to expose a brightly coloured mucosa. (b) Fledgling blackbird. Note the down feathers on the head and back, and the brightly coloured gape-flange at the commissures of the beak. (b, Courtesy of E Keeble)
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30.3 Typical passerine beak structures: (a) insectivore; (b) omnivore; (c) granivore. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and are printed with her permission.
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30.4 Diagram to illustrate the topography of the foot in small bird species. (a) Most perching species have a typical configuration of the digits with three forward-facing toes and a single hind toe (anisodactyl). (b) Climbing species, notably woodpeckers, have the second and third digits facing forward and the first and fourth digits facing backwards (zygodactyl). Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and are printed with her permission.
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30.5 (a) A standard rectangular breeding cage with a grille front (to which a heat lamp can be fixed), with solid sides, back and roof is ideal for small birds. (b) Fledgling thrushes (Turdidae) being hand-fed through the front grille of a breeding cage to avoid excessive handling. (b, © Secret World Wildlife Rescue)
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30.7 Warty or tumour-like growths caused by avian poxvirus typically occur on the head (particularly next to the eye or beak) and less commonly on the legs, wings or other body parts. (a) Dunnock (). (b) Great tit (). (a, Courtesy of R Stowell © Zoological Society of London; b, Courtesy of J Harper, © Zoological Society of London).
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30.8 With chaffinch papillomavirus (CPV) infection, proliferative ‘spiky’ or ‘tassel-like’ lesions typically develop around the foot and digits, but can spread higher up the leg whereas, with mite ( spp.) infestation, excess grey scale often develops on the digits and leg. Coinfection can occur and it is not possible to diagnose the cause of the lesions based on appearance alone without further diagnostic tests. (© Zoological Society of London)
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30.9 Passerine salmonellosis typically causes disseminated granulomatous infection, with lesions often present in the (a) crop (arrowed), (b) spleen (arrowed), along with the liver and caecal tonsils. For orientation a white star denotes the proventriculus and a white triangle the ventriculus (or gizzard). (© Zoological Society of London)
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30.10 is a common nematode parasite of game birds, starlings and members of the crow family. It frequently causes clinical signs of partial tracheal obstruction. (a) Post-mortem examination of the trachea may reveal adult worms within the airways. (b) egg. The ova are readily demonstrated by direct microscopic examination of pharyngeal mucus and faeces (wet preparations or by flotation techniques).
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30.11 Lethargic greenfinch with fluffed-up plumage and food adherent to beak: clinical signs often observed with finch trichomonosis. (© Zoological Society of London)
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30.12 (a) Redwing (). In severe winters, large numbers of redwings and fieldfare () are forced further west across Continental Europe to the UK where, if conditions are no better, they suffer from starvation and may be admitted to rehabilitation units. (b) Juvenile carrion crows () are frequently found in an emaciated state and showing lack of pigmentation to the plumage, especially the flight and tail feathers. (c) Fret marks or stress marks – transverse lines of feather malformation and weakness, assumed to be associated with periods of malnutrition or disease during the development of the feather. (b, Courtesy of G Cousquer)
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30.15 Rearing a fledgling blackbird by hand. Cats commonly injure fledglings and this bird had a fractured radius, which healed with the help of masking tape to support the wing.

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