Injured birds take flight
By BREE PRICE
WITH the flutter of tiny wings, 65 native welcome swallows were released at Brunswick Heads yesterday after being caught in an adhesive pest control product on Monday.
A flock of more than 70 swallows was caught in a product called Scare Crow, which had been lathered on the ceiling pipes of a private car park in Byron Bay.
Six birds did not survive and 15 remain in care at Byron Bay Vet Hospital, with stress the main cause of death.
Seven of those released at Stan Thompson Oval yesterday were taken back into care after they struggled to fly.
Byron Bay Vet Clinic nurse Nicole Bryant said the swallows had to be hand-fed throughout Monday and Tuesday nights.
"We cleaned the swallows with turps, washed them with soapy water, dried them and hydrated them," she said.
"Each one had to be assessed after every feed and every time we handled them.
"They took over the surgery room."
The National Parks and Wildlife Service and the RSPCA are investigating the incident, with legal action expected to be taken against those responsible for killing the swallows.
Wildlife carer Bob Oehlman said many of the tiny swallows were saved by the quickthinking of the anonymous caller who alerted WIRES to the trapped birds.
Ms Bryant said she felt mixed emotions as she watched the released swallows fly from the cage.
"It's awesome, but it's mixed with frustration. It's an unnatural condition to be caged and force-fed," she said.
She said more swallows affected by the adhesive pest control were being found. She encouraged anyone who found any of the birds to contact Byron Bay Vet Clinic on 66856899 or WIRES on 66281898.