Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals Inc


Max and Furiosa

(warning graphic photos)

Stephanie Grieve - January - March 2022.

Probably the most successful rehabilitation I have done since my time in RRANA is the severe case of magpie pox on magpie fledgelings, Max and Furiosa. These siblings were spotted by owners of the Mad Max 2 museum Adrian and Linda Bennetts in Silverton in January 2022.

Seeing them was quite confronting. Max had a very large sore hanging from his eye lid and sores on his beak and feet. Nothing like I had ever seen before.

Magpie pox is a pox virus specific to Australian magpies. The virus cannot spread to other bird species, but can be spread to other magpies.

It is transmitted by mosquitos who bite infected magpies and then bite other magpies, therefore spreading the virus. The virus generally appears when there is a wet spring and summer after a drought. After a tough time during the drought, the immunity of the birds is low. It usually affects fledgeling birds.

Furiosa was also severely affected by pox. She had pox sores throughout her mouth and covering her feet.

Furiosa prior to rehabilitation

As a general rule, the most affected areas for the birds are the face, mouth, legs and feet.

furiosa-pre-rehab1-240x300 Head
furiosa-pre-rehab2-240x300 Mouth
furiosa-pre-rehab3-240x300 Feet



Max and Furiosa caged

During their time in rehabilitation they had to be kept quarantined and in an insect proof crate so they couldn’t get bitten by any further mosquitos and affect any other magpies.

Their treatment basically, was time.

This is a self-limiting virus and the sores will eventually fall off. As a rehabber I assisted with good nutrition and bathing the sores with iodine and saline. For the sores in Furiosa’s mouth warm salt water was used.



Max after the large pox fell off his eye

Max’s pox that came off his eye lid after 3 weeks weighed 3gm.

Can see why his eye lid was drooping so badly holding so much weight.

Once the sores on Max had shrunk to a pretty significant size, it was time for him to be able to go outside in our flight aviary to get some flight and some sunshine.


Relocation to the Flight Aviary

max-moulting-300x350 Max in a sun trance.
He had gone into a moult as well.
max-furiosa-united-300x350 A few more weeks and Furiosa was reunited with Max.
He kept kissing her. I definitely think he missed his sister.

After some well needed flight practice in the aviary and some live insect catching lessons, they were deemed well enough for release. Once a magpie had had the magpie pox virus they are then (thankfully) immune to getting the virus again.

Time to Release - March 2022

release-day1-400x425 RRANA member Helen and Mad Max owner Adrian
greeting the pair for release.
release-day2-360x425 Max was first to make the jump to freedom.
release-day3-400x300 Furiosa flying free.

These two magpies taught me a lot about this virus and how I will use the treatment in the future. They’ve definitely helped me become a better carer. Stephanie Grieve