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Have you heard of scissor beak?

Saved from scissor beak

By Sonia Clark

Parrots in Paradise bird sanctuary volunteer Dot Gauntlett contacted GC&M News recently to let us know one of their blue and gold baby macaws, Kittunga, needed an operation to have a birdie brace fitted to help fix her scissor beak condition.

Also known as crossed beak, the condition is a physical deformity where the upper and lower portions of the beak grow in different directions and do not line up, which left untreated would make eating and drinking very difficult and could lead to starvation.

Sanctuary director Dail Malins said seven-week old Kittunga’s surgery had gone really well and, while a bit subdued, the patient was doing fine.

Dail said that in the years that she had run the Glass House Mountains sanctuary she had never come across the condition.

“One of our young volunteers picked up the name of the condition and so I Googled more about it and contacted Associate Professor Bob Doneley, head of the avian and exotic pet service at the University of Queensland’s veterinary medical centre at Gatton for help. As one of only five specialists in Australia in bird medicine, Dr Bob is one of the very best in the country, so I knew Kittunga was in good hands,” Dail said.

Dail made the nearly six-hour round trip to Gatton recently so Kittunga could be admitted to hospital for her overnight stay.

Dail said that she and her team of volunteers were passionate about their duty of care for their avian charges and there was no question that they would seek the best treatment available to fix the condition, with the $900 operation funded by Dail and the sanctuary.

Parrots in Paradise operates on Dail’s Barrs Road property. It is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a haven for rescued domesticated birds, as well as operating a boarding program, grooming service, a breeding program, tours and shows.

The sanctuary also hosts an avian placement program for veterinary students from around Australia and is one of only a small number of places offering hands-on avian experience for students.

Dail said that with 400 birds they were always grateful for donations of parrot and bird seed and fresh fruit, as well as towels. Building materials to help extend the sanctuary are also gratefully accepted.

To find out more visit www.parrotsinparadise.net or call 5438 7719 during business hours.