Drivers urged to keep eye out for feeding cockatoos

Carnaby's cockatoo Friday is recovering at Perth Zoo with a bandaged wing after being hit by a car.
Carnaby's cockatoo Friday is recovering at Perth Zoo with a bandaged wing after being hit by a car.

The bird was admitted two weeks ago after being hit by a car in the Woodridge area, suffering a fractured left wing and multiple fractures to the right shoulder.

Vets performed surgery to pin her wing and are now monitoring her progress.

Friday’s case is not uncommon, with Perth Zoo vets treating five endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos just last week for broken wings, broken legs and other injuries from car strikes.

‘Thankfully, Friday is bright, eating well and proving to be a model patient,’ Perth Zoo senior veterinary nurse Peta Moore said.

Unfortunately, not all are as lucky and don’t survive the trauma.

Ms Moore has urged drivers to take care on the roads because many of the injured cockatoos were hit by vehicles as they fed near the side of the road.

‘It is really sad to see what’s happening to these beautiful birds. There are so many factors threatening them with extinction that it is important to save as many as we can,’ she said.

‘Cockatoos can’t take off quickly when cars approach. Being large-winged birds, they generally take off into the wind, which can prevent them taking fast evasive action in front of cars.

‘The good news is that if we see these birds quickly, we can often help them, so the message to the public is that if you find an injured cockatoo, please contact a registered wildlife carer quickly and don’t try to care for it at home.’

Ms Moore said many people brought birds into the zoo after trying to care for them at home.

Even with good intentions by the carer, vets often found that broken wings had healed incorrectly, leaving the bird unable to fly, or it was weak from being fed the wrong diet.

‘Once that happens, the chances of survival are greatly reduced,’ Ms Moore said.

Once the cockatoos have been treated at the zoo, they are usually sent to specialist carers such as Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre or Native Animal Rescue for longer-term rehabilitation and eventual release back to the wild.

– If you find an injured cockatoo, call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 or take it to a wildlife rehabilitation centre or vet for assessment. They will refer it to the zoo if high-level medical care is required.