Deadly welcome for Byron birds
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
A FATAL decision to flock together has killed 10 birds of a feather and left 70 fighting for their lives in Byron Bay.
The flock of native welcome swallows was caught in an adhesive pest control product called Scare Crow which had been lathered on to the ceiling pipes of a private car park in Bay Lane on Monday night.
An anonymous phone call was made to WIRES about 6pm, alerting the animal welfare service to the trapped swallows.
Byron Vet Clinic nurse and WIRES volunteer Daniella Davis said she had never seen so many creatures suffering at once.
"You see many things in this area of work, but I've never experienced anything on this scale," she said.
"Most of the birds had fallen to the ground in shock. If they weren't stuck to the pipes their feathers were stuck together and they couldn't fly."
The National Parks and Wildlife Service and RSPCA are investigating the incident, with legal action expected to be taken against the culprit for killing a native species.
"You would be pretty naive to think such a toxic product wouldn't harm a small bird," said Ms Davis.
"Even large birds would get stuck in it, then eventually starve to death."
She said whoever was responsible had probably been frustrated about bird droppings left on vehicles in the car park.
"They should've stopped for a moment and thought about what they were doing," she said.
"There's always a better way. The Beach Hotel ties aluminium foil to the pipes in its car park which is a far better method. Birds won't land on alfoil."
Vet clinic staff and volunteers spent Monday night and yesterday cleaning the swallows, then hand-feeding them with rehydrating fluids injected into their mouths with needles.
Only 10 of the 70 surviving birds were not in a critical condition last night.