Qld bird on a wire gets feather transplant

Christine Flatley

A tawny frogmouth found tangled in a barbed wire fence has taken to the skies again after being given a feather transplant by a Brisbane vet.

The bird was rescued earlier this month by a wildlife carer, who found him hanging by a wing from the fence.

The carer sedated the male bird and untangled him.

She rushed him to the Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service for treatment, stopping along the way to collect another tawny frogmouth who had been found dead.

Vet Hamish Baron carefully cut off the damaged flight feathers and replaced them with donor feathers from the dead tawny frogmouth, using glue and metal rods to stabilise them.

Dr Baron has recently spent time in Dubai performing falconry implants, but that this was the first type of this operation he had performed in Australia.

"We were able to borrow the feathers from the bird that had unfortunately passed away, and then put them into the one that had to have them cut off and it ended up being almost perfect for the one that had to be saved," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"It was a great situation, the stars aligned for this bird."

Dr Baron said most vets have a small feather library they can delve into to repair damaged wings, but that there wouldn't have been enough available to help this bird without the ones from his recently deceased colleague.

The tawny frogmouth was able to fly immediately after the procedure and was released back into the wild a few days later.