Magpie with broken beak

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Hendrix
Hendrix's picture
Magpie with broken beak

HI Guys,

We have a juvenile Australian Magpie with a broken upper mandible who is a regular visitor to our native garden. I have watched it drink from our bird bath forage grubs, beetles and scratch through the tailings of seed I discard from our menagerie of hand raised parrots. It has some difficulties but patiently works out how to work the food into a position to work and swallow.

Generally its condition is good, but I am wondering what sort of future it will have.

Any one out there with experience of this?

Cheers

Paul

Lachlan
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That's awful! I feel really sorry for the poor thing.
As for its future, there really is no way to tell. How long has it's beak been broken?
It might survive winter, it might not. Either way, I suspect it'll have a hard life.

Woko
Woko's picture

I imagine this bird's future isn't all that bright. Apart from wildlife rescue services there's no safety net of  social services in the bird world which means that individuals with features which hamper their ability to compete for resources are likely to have an earlier than normal lifespan.

burchan

 I have just seen this post and found it interesting because 11 years a go I took photos of 2 birds with broken top beak. After a while they looked terrible condition and then they were gone. When I contacted wildlife people I was told they might have broken it in fight. I did not think so.

Lachlan
Lachlan's picture

Wow, I feel sorry for your poor magpies. crying That looks awful!

I agree, it wasn't fighting, at least amongst Magpies. Magpies have powerful beaks, but they clack them together or lunge with them. Lunging wouldn't do that (both would be broken?), and I don't believe they would be able to clack them together powerfully enough to break their beak. 

The one at the front is an immature bird, and the other one behind it could be a parent. Maybe it could be a genetic condition, as both of the breaks look the same to me?

But, I suspect human involvement. Sadly. 

Woko
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Another reason not to feed birds artificially. 

It's great that the plight of the toucan elicited lots of sympathy for its rehabilitation. And it'll be a great day when as much or more sympathy is elicited for protection of its habitat. 

tomboy
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Is it impossible to regenerate with high calcium diet ?

Woko
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Tomboy, can you provide a little more context around your question?

tomboy
tomboy's picture

i mean the beak. I heard calcium help build strong beak for bird. I was wondering if high calcium diet can help regenerate them too

Woko
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I don't know, tomboy. Consulting with a vet might be the best bet.

sue818
sue818's picture

Hi Paul, we had a similar problem with a Currawong. The beak was even worse and it lost more over time. However it coped by flicking food into the air to catch it and hung about for a couple of years. I believe that there is a viral condition that could be the cause. Sue

kayeema
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Howdie Friends, I am feeding a Magpie with a top broken beak. She eats porridge from a deep bowl, she is able to get right in and get a good feed. I have been able to get her quite close and with small soft biscuits she is able to catch. I now have to carry biscuits when out in paddock as at times i'm being followed. They are a very smart bird. They do not forget.

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi kayeema. Have you read through some of the posts about the artificial feeding of native birds? You might be interested in the discussions. Just type <artificial feeding of birds> in the search box near the top of this page for a number of perspectives on this issue. A number of people would consider a Magpie with a broken bill a special case but I'd be interested to read what you think.

tomboy
tomboy's picture

I heard birds with severe beak injury requires a supportive care to survive. happy to hear you are taking care of injured ones

check out this site for more info on broken beak  :  http://beautyofbirds.com/brokenbeaks.html

It states:  (copied/pasted)..........

    "A cracked beak  (minor beak injury) won't grow together, but will grow out over time (grow out like a chipped fingernail)

Amputated or torn off beaks (larger injuries), as well as fractured beaks, will not grow back, but can be repaired. (light cured composites or dental acrylic can be used to patch the area until the beak grows back)

A fracture to the beak can be repaired, if the blood supply is still good. Some beak injuries result in permanent, disfiguring damage, requiring the bird to eat soft foods for the rest of its life, but other injuries may heal quite well allowing the bird to return to normal beak functioning"

Maybe some high nutritional food may help your bird for speedy recovery, if recovery is possible

Here are some info/suggestion on foods for "Insect Eaters" birds:

> Mince mix dip in water

> Mealworms/insects

> Soaked cat biscuits/pet food mix

> egg and biscuit mix   (http://www.greencrossvet.com.au/Pet_Care_Information/Article-206/B.I.R.O.-BIRDS.aspx)

0ochello0
0ochello0's picture

Hi all, I know this is an old post but I have noticed a similar occurrence in a group of magpies recently. My aunt has a group of magpies that come to her house, she keeps a pretty good eye on them. One of the juvenile birds last year started to have issues with its beak. It began by growing longer and hooked, then began to flake and fall off. It’s top beak is now just longer than it’s nostrils, the lower one seems mostly there, maybe a little shorter. I also noticed that it has problems with its feet, some toes have fallen off, and it’s foot no longer bends when it perches, just this flat hard looking stumpy thing. This year two more juveniles have started to grow a hooked beak, so we are worried this may be happening again. Does anyone know of some kind of keratin disease that might be affecting them? Or maybe it’s genetic? Should anything be done about it?

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi 0ochello0 (nice one), are these Magpies artificially fed? I'm wondering if they're affected by beak & feather disease or something similar although this diseases is more common among cockatoos & the like. Step one might be to get rid of any artifical feeding that might be affecting the birds & allow them to forage naturally. Step two might be to discuss the problem, complete with photos if you can, with a vet.

0ochello0
0ochello0's picture

Hi Woko, thanks for the reply. They tend to take the dog and cat food, that group of magpies have been doing it for the past 30 years there. It is probably the only reason the beakless one is still alive. There is also a drought at the moment, it’s a farm and very dry. The cat food could be one of their main food sources at the moment? 

0ochello0
0ochello0's picture

Just looking at some images of Beak and Feather disease, the beak kind of looks similar with the flaky surface, but all of the images show birds with missing feathers, these magpies all have perfect feathering. 

Woko
Woko's picture

I guess if you’re in a drought you’re not baiting rodents so that probably excludes poisoning. Perhaps the drought has reduced a natural food source which is then affecting the birds. Other than that I can only suggest plan B - unless other Birds in Backyarders have some ideas.

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