Little Bittern in the hand, sadly
Found a sad rare bird in the hand today. This Australian Little Bittern (Ixobrychus dubius) tangled with barbed wire fencing at a small wetlands near Ingham overnight. Still alive when unhooked, the bird had suffered too much damage. The vet did what I had feared would fall to me.
Imagine the suffering of any bird or animal caught in such terrible position. It's even sadder when the species is of limited and perhaps declining numbers. Today's was the second Little Bittern I've found barbed in two years. Use of unbarbed top wires would stop many such deaths.
But it's too close to Christmas to end with notes of gloom. So here's a happier pair of birds on wire. First, juvenile Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) finds Tyto footbridge wire walking and wing stretching harder than simply sitting and waiting to be fed.
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) contents itself with merely looking glorious, in a subdued sunsetty way, as it waits for prey to rise from the western end of Ingham airstrip.