What is killing Gympie’s feathered friends?
GYMPIE’S landmark lorikeets are literally falling from the sky as they endure their own version of COVID-19.
Gympie Regional Council has warned of the possible distress which may be caused by the sight of severely paralysed birds, some suddenly unable to fly or hold on to branches.
The lorikeets, a regular and noisy feature of trees across the region, especially in Memorial Park and Nelson Reserve, are suffering a contagious illness identified as Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome, a council spokeswoman said.
Council parks manager Glen Fensom said the debilitating condition was seasonal and relatively common, but could be distressing for anyone who finds an injured or dead bird.
Early veterinary treatment can help, he said.
“The council is urging people who see any sick or injured birds to contact a local wildlife carer or the RSPCA on 1300 264 625, so the birds can be treated by a vet as soon as possible,” he said.
Mr Fensom said the syndrome mainly affects rainbow lorikeets but has also been reported in scaly-brreasted lorikeets.
“Affected birds are unable to fly, with varying degrees of paralysis of the hind limbs and wings,” he said.
“In more severe cases, the paralysis may affect the whole body and the bird may be unable to blink or swallow.”
Summer had brought reports of cases seen across Gympie region, in addition to reports from the Sunshine Coast area.
“Early intervention and treatment by a vet or qualified bird carer can lead to a full recovery for our colourful feathered friends,” he said.
“It is just a matter of keeping your eyes peeled.”