Last Thursday 3 Wompoo Fruit-doves were rescued from Clunes, Lismore and Evans Head. All were found on the ground suffering from concussion after window strikes, one was then found by a dog.
Wompoo Fruit-doves rarely come into care as they selectively feed on a variety of rainforest fruits that are more common in well-developed rainforests as well as individual fruiting mature paddock fig trees.
The plumage of the Wompoo Fruit-dove is brilliantly coloured to blend into the dense foliage trees of the rainforest. They rarely come to ground, when flying weaves through the forest canopy rather than passing over it.
Due to their relatively large gape Wompoo Fruit-doves are particularly important to the dispersal of trees bearing fruit too large to be taken by other frugivorous species making a significant contribution to ecological functioning in rainforests.
Rescuing three Wompoo Fruit-doves in one day is obviously unusual. It’s as though they left the safety of their forest homes in the search for food and therefore came closer to human populated areas.
The Wompoo Fruit-dove is now listed as Vulnerable in NSW . The main threat to this species is the clearing and fragmentation of subtropical rainforest. Although much of the higher altitude breeding habitat for Wompoo Fruit-doves is now protected within conservation reserves, important patches of non-breeding lowland habitat are currently unreserved and hence remain vulnerable to clearing. The large-scale clearing of subtropical rainforest in NSW early last century destroyed much of the most productive habitat of Wompoo Fruit-doves and current populations are restricted due to the limited area of this resource. The species appears to be declining in northern NSW following this widespread rainforest clearing and fragmentation.
Glass windows, doors and pool fences can be lethal to birds. Glass can create the illusion of extended space, particularly when reflecting vegetation or sky. High speed bird collisions often occur and sadly the bird does not always survive. Large glass buildings are particularly lethal for birds. In our home environment as well, bird window strikes are common.
You can help!
The key to most collisions is break up the reflection so the bird realises there is something there. This can be done in a few ways.
If renovating or building, consider using non-reflective glass.
Insect screens are a simple solution for smaller windows.
Coloured decals (stickers) placed in a few places on the window may be enough.
Decals come in a variety of designs and are pleasant to look at.
Vertical lines or dots break up the reflected expanse and are a permanent solution.
Birds do not like flying in between narrow spaces, so this illusion is often enough to warn them.
The spaces between the lines should be no greater than 10cm. Premade adhesive window dots or lines can be purchased, or a DIY option is to use tempera paint or soap or shaving cream and paint on a grid or an artistic design.
Another way to achieve the same effect is by attaching a vertical rope curtain in front of the window. This has the benefit of moving in the breeze and creating even more visual warning.
What to do if a bird hits your window:
If the bird is on the ground, immediately and gently collect it as it may be unconscious, stunned or injured and very vulnerable to predators.
Place the bird in a covered box (with air holes) and a towel or tshirt on the bottom as a soft bed. Leave the bird and box on a table or shelf in a quiet warm room away from people and pets. Do not offer water or food to a concussed bird.
After one to two hours, take the box outside and open the lid. If the bird was just stunned it will fly off.
If it does not fly off or struggles to fly it is likely to have more serious injuries so call WIRES on 1300 094 737
For our three rescued Wompoo Fruit-doves, the Clunes dove has been released, and the other 2 are well on the way to recovery.