Desperate plea as multiple magpies shot with 'awful' weapon

Three magpies have been found with blow gun darts lodged into their heads.

Three magpies with blow gun darts sticking out of the corner of their eye (left), beak (middle) and neck (right).
Magpies have been found shot with blow gun darts in Chisholm, NSW this week. Source: WIRES

Magpies have been spotted with blow gun darts protruding from their bodies, leaving wildlife groups on high alert as they desperately offer residents advice to help the injured birds.

So far three magpies have been sighted by residents in Chisholm, situated near the Hunter Valley region of NSW, with the birds all struck in the head by the prohibited projectiles — one in its beak, neck and corner of the eye respectively.

WIRES confirmed to Yahoo News residents first reported injured magpies on Tuesday. None of the birds have been captured but images show clear evidence they are indeed blow gun darts sticking out of the birds, leading rescuers to believe they were targeted attacks.

"[A] wildlife vet has checked the photos and confirmed they are definitely not medical syringes," a WIRES spokesperson told Yahoo News.

It's not the first time NSW wildlife has been targeted with the projectiles. Water dragons and water birds in Sydney's northern beaches fell victim to blow gun dart attacks in 2022, with one rescuer referring to them as "awful little darts".

"Someone's obviously sat there, scoped them out, and then shot them with these awful little darts," Sydney Wildlife Rescue’s reptile coordinator Lynleigh Greig told Yahoo News previously.

A water dragon with three blow gun darts protruding out of it (left) and n image of blow gun darts which were taken out of wildlife (right).
Wildlife rescuers were shocked to find multiple lizards pierced with darts in Sydney's northern beaches in 2022. Source: Sydney Wildlife Rescue

Under state laws blow gun darts are prohibited and require a permit for possession and use, with the only justifiable reason being for animal management. Since the magpies have been left to roam with the projectiles protruding out of their bodies, it's highly unlikely those who shot the birds complied with proper use laws.

WIRES are urging anyone who witnesses wildlife shot with a blow dart gun to call the WIRES hotline so assistance can be provided.

The projectiles could pose deadly health implications for the birds but rescuers are hopeful the birds can "dislodge" them themselves before infection sets in.

"We are hopeful they may be able to dislodge the darts themselves as the skin around the entry point becomes inflamed and softens," the WIRES spokesperson said. "It is likely that if infection sets in badly the birds will become ill and come to the ground. They will then be then able to be contained and taken to a vet."

Magpies are native to Australia and were voted 'bird of the year' in 2017 by BirdLife Australia.

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