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Small Bird Feeder?

Wild birds can often do with a helping hand from garden owners. By providing , bird baths and a you can help native species to thrive, even in urban areas. Your own garden will become a haven for wildlife and you can enjoy watching the bird’s as they nest, bathe and feed. With patience, you may even be able to encourage wild birds to take food from your hand.

Be careful what you try to feed the birds though, and what you try to feed them with. A recent incident in Australia has shown that accidents can happen when you interfere with nature.

Queensland Kookaburra

Last week, some residents of Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast discovered a Kookaburra with a metal skewer lodged in its throat! The bird was taken to a local wildlife centre where it was examined by a vet.

Metallic Element

X-rays revealed that the bird had been incredibly fortunate. The skewer had not caused any internal damage. The kookaburra was sedated and the skewer carefully removed. It was lucky that a portion of the skewer was visible at the top of the oesophagus so the vet was able to grasp it with forceps in order to extract it. It was pulled out through the bird’s mouth. The kookaburra was then able to recuperate at the wildlife centre for a few days.

Meat Skewer

The vet was left wondering how the metal skewer could have ended up inside the bird. It was definitely a skewer and not a piece of metal that had been dislodged from a small bird feeder or anything else in a local garden. The vet reached the conclusion that someone in the neighbourhood had used the skewer to offer food, probably meat, to the kookaburra and it had then gulped down the metal along with the food.


Kookaburras are natives of Australia and are carnivorous. They feed on rodents, small reptiles, other birds and fish. They are known to enjoy food from barbecues and many will gratefully accept handouts. They are often offered minced beef and pet food by well-meaning people but these foods does not contain the calcium or roughage that they need.

The bird in question must have been tempted by a tasty morsel but vets recommend that people do not feed kookaburras. Offering them the wrong food can cause health problems. However, nobody could have predicted this particular issue! Kookaburras are not an endangered species but they could be if they keep eating barbecue skewers!

Perhaps it would be best if everyone stuck to providing small bird feeders for seed and nut eating species and left the meat eaters to catch their own food. The people who fed the kookaburra were probably trying to help and could not have known that it would eat the skewer as well as the meat. What a bird brain!


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