Early one morning a rainbow lorikeet was brought into the clinic that had been hit by a car. We could tell the bird was still very young as his beak was only just beginning to change from black to orange. He was in severe shock, was breathing heavily and had a lot of missing feathers.
The staff on duty decided the best course of action was to treat the shock so he was put in a cage that was placed on a heating pad for warmth and left to sit quietly in the dark for a few hours. Once the shock had subsided, it was then safe to get him out for a more thorough examination.
His breathing had improved slightly but was still heavy and he was very quiet. He was given lectade, an electrolyte replacement to help reverse his dehydration and give him some extra energy. As he was a wild bird and didn't know what a food bowl was, this had to be syringed into his beak until he was used to it. He was started on a lorikeet slurry that was also syringed. Although lorikeets are parrots, they have a feather tip tongue designed to eat nectar and pollen rather than seed. The lectade and slurry were given at regular intervals and in between he was left somewhere warm, dark and quiet to help ease the concussion he had sustained when he hit the car.
At the end of the day he went home with Simone, one of the nurses here at the clinic, who has a wildlife shelter operators license for continuing care and treatment. He had perked up considerably within 24 hours but his breathing was still a concern. The vets thought that he had bruised his lungs and that time and care would fix this problem.
Within a week he was breathing well and eating native plants and flowers as well as his lorikeet slurry. Apart from a few missing feathers, he had made a full recovery. He was then transferred from his inside hospital cage to an outside aviary so that his feathers could grow back and he could learn how to fly (this is probably what he was doing when he went astray and hit the car).
Approximately one week after being moved to the outside aviary, another lorikeet came into Simone's care that was the same age and they were paired up together. They fell in love the minute they met and have been inseparable since. In early October they were both returned to the wild very successfully!
What to do if you find an injured bird
You must have a license to look after wild animals that is issued by the Department of Sustainability and Environment. This is because each animal has very specific requirements of care.
If you find an injured bird (or other animal) then you should put it in a well ventilated box and get it to the local vet clinic straight away. Wild animals can die from stress very quickly if handled too much and the sooner you can get it to somebody who can care for it, the better its chance of survival. The vet clinic can then assess it, give it treatment if needed and pass it on to the relevant people for care.