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DESTRUCTIVE DIETS ON INSECTIVORES… MEAT AND CAT/DOG FOOD

Many private named rehabilitators and even wildlife rehabilitation centres are currently using wrong diets to hand-rear insectivorous bird species.

The Internet is full of resources, theoretically reputable, which advise the use of many diets to hand-rear insectivorous chicks.

Many incorrect advices run the risk of being followed by professionals or even private individuals who decide to hand-rear chicks at home.

It is essential to be aware of the poor results and risks on the survival of birds hand-reared using wrong diets. Lately some supposed rehabilitators are promoting the use of diets that have been rejected clearly by others with extensive experience on insectivore hand-rearing.

Birds hand-reared on these formulas show an appalling feather condition and poor body condition.

These inappropriate diets jeopardise not only the survival during the hand-rearing process, but also survival once the bird is introduced back into the wild with such poor conditions.

It does not make sense for those involved professionally to continue using these wrong diets when the outcome is known, even published on scientific papers.

Wildlife rehabilitation practice guidelines suggest body weight and plumage condition as essential indicators of individual chances of survival to release.

Low fledgling body weight can lead to low fitness, and thus decreased chances of survival.

Fledglings need to be in exceptional body condition at fledging, with strong flying abilities and therefore a large pectoral mass.

As an example, looking at our Swifts, apparently young spend the first night after fledging on the wing, and may start on migration. Shortly after leaving the nest, a long journey crossing the Sahara to their wintering grounds in Africa, flying at high altitudes, often above 2000 m. Swifts need to be able to execute fast movements, flying without rest and usually at high altitudes with low oxygen pressure, which involves tremendous energy expenditure.

A reduction in body weight slows down flight speed and can have negative repercussions for migration as the distance it is possible to travel can be diminished and predation risk can increase.

Dull plumage, which may consist of severely malformed feathers, cannot supply flight performance, insulation or waterproofing.

None of these factors – REDUCED GROWTH, LOW BODY WEIGHT OR POOR FEATHER CONDITION DO NOT SEEMS COMPATIBLE WITH SURVIVAL IN THE WILD


 

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