Found Cockatoo Story

While I was visiting, Ginger’s Parrot Rescue in Arizona, she got a call about a Galah that was found outside. Follow the story here:

You’re such a good person,instead of just keeping the bird you actually search for the owner.

I don’t mean this as a criticism of Ginger but as advice to whoever finds a bird that has, possibly, been lost for some time before it’s found: the very first thing that needs to be done is to offer the bird water and, if the bird is too weak to take it on its own, to place a few drops at a time in the ‘bowl’ of its beak. Parrots don’t actually starve to death when lost, they die of dehydration way before they die of starvation.

It was about a 20 minute drive to the vet so we decided to skip and just go straight there and let them handle it plus see the bird in exactly the found condition. Secondly, it was raining all day so we didn’t think it would be too dehydrated. Most likely the signs of dehydration have accumulated from previous days and not that it was without water on that rainy day.

Oh, well, I don’t know… on the video, she told the person who answered the phone at the vet that it would take her 40 minutes to get there and that’s a lot to wait with a severely dehydrated animal as the kidneys take a HUGE hit - one that they actually cannot recover from completely. But, in any case, like I said, it was info meant to be used for people in the future because everybody always worry about starvation and forget that dehydration is actually more urgent. Dehydration is very tricky… especially with birds because you don’t have the same ‘clues’ you have with mammals -you can’t separate the skin from the flesh, you can’t look at the color of the gums and you can’t judge whether the inside of the ‘mouth’ is dry or not because they have no saliva, so the best thing is always to assume that they are dehydrated and not wait a single minute to get water into them because the first thing that happens with severe dehydration is a terrible weakness - so severe that, even when the animal has water in front of its face, they don’t drink!

I think if it wasn’t already raining, she would have given it water immediately for sure. But since the bird was already wet, getting it to the vet sooner was the priority in this specific case.

In all honesty, I seriously doubt that rain would help a dehydrated bird… Pet birds might not even think of drinking from a shallow street puddle and, if they are used to a bottle, even less. Plus, the fact that the bird is wet doesn’t really do anything for dehydration because 99% of the time, the rain doesn’t even reach their body (it slides right off the feathers) but, even if it did, the skin cannot absorb enough to make any difference. Like I said, I am not criticizing, I am simply pointing out something that is extremely important when it comes to lost birds and survival. And, one more thing, starving birds should never be given a lot of food and it should never be ‘regular’ food. Just a tiny bit of a wet piece of bread or a few cooked grains every hour or two (meaning very small portions and poor in nutrients) during the first 5 or 7 days is the way to go because, if you put out a lot of regular food, the bird will end up dead from ‘refeeding syndrome’.