Sick Rainbow Lorikeets brought in by worried residents

Published on 09 February 2024

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Five sick Rainbow Lorikeets, all found within two kilometers of the showground, were brought into the Macleay Valley Veterinary Service by different members of the community over a period of two hours on Monday 5 February.

They have since been sent to Taronga Zoo for further testing, with concerns the birds are suffering from Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome, which affects the beautiful birds in Northern NSW and SE Queensland over the warmer months.

Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome is a seasonal illness that has killed thousands of birds since it was first identified in 2010.

It usually occurs between October and June each year, with the highest number of cases between December and February.

Just last week, more than 200 paralysed birds were taken into care in the Grafton area. 

Researchers are working hard to solve the mystery illness and have enlisted citizen scientists to help their quest, asking bird watchers in affected areas to report on the iNaturalist website what they are seeing the lorikeets feeding on.

  • Wildlife groups say anyone who finds a sick bird should avoid handling it
  • Instead, use a towel to pick up the bird and, if possible, contain it in a cardboard box
  • Despite dehydration being a common ailment in affected birds, the advice is don't try to give the bird water
  • Water can be left in a shallow dish nearby
  • If a Kempsey resident finds an unwell Rainbow Lorikeet, please take it to the Macleay Valley Veterinary Service.