We lose two friends
Last week we lost two of our pied butcherbird friends. Gerry started getting sick first, with what looked like the same problem we successfully cures his relative Butch from last year. His eyes crusted up and it became hard for him to see. Unlike Butch though, Gerry wasn't at all interested in getting caught and taken to the vet etc. So we had to feed him antibiotic-soaked bread as the only way to get some medicine in him.
Despite our best efforts, last week he never returned. Meanwhile, one of the 'new gang' of butcherbirds also started looking bad. As the new gang are more uncertain of us than even Gerry, there was no hope of getting poor Teddles into the cage for the trip to the vet. It was only a short time before Teddles vanished.
We are not sure whether this problem is a bacterial infection that can be treated by antibiotics or a viral infection like bird flu. We have found that vets are only marginally helpful. They will offer to treat a wild bird for free if you bring it in to them—but we are happy to pay anyway. On the other hand, unless they "see the bird" they will not offer any help, any medicine, not even an educated guess at the problem. That's really useful if you can't persuade a wild animal to trust you with its freedom!
What really angers me about this situation is that they tell us stuff about laws against distributing medicine without sighting the patient. We are talking about a few grams of antibiotic here. And yet animal feedlots chuck tons of antibiotics into the feed to promote growth, and which escape into the environment. Many of the best antibiotics are losing their usefulness (which will lead to human deaths) because of this. It seems you can do what you please with antibiotics if you are harming animals, but not if you are benefiting them.
We are now worried about our beautiful Vicky Magpie. The last few days she has had some eye trouble, so we offered to take her to the vet. She refused, so we are having to do the best we can to get her back in top form without any expert help, because of these foolish policies.