Wildlife rescue concerned by mystery ‘gunk’ plaguing native swallows

Last Wednesday a bunch of stressed-out Welcome Swallows arrived at Mandurah Wildlife Rescue, covered in a mysteries glue-like gunk that prevented them from flying.

Rescue centre manager Dot Terry said she believes the ‘gunk’ is being used by people to deter the sparrows from nesting in rafters and buildings.

“It’s a very sticky substance and people have been using it for years, this has been going on for a long while,” Ms Terry said.

“They’re using it to deter them, but it’s not deterring them, they keep coming and they get covered in it… I don’t think the public that are doing it realise that it is an offence, and that’s what we’re trying to get them to realise, that what they’re doing is wrong.

“It’s a cruelty act, anything that injures and causes stress to our native wildlife is illegal.”

Ms Terry said there was a good population of the native swallows in Mandurah, but being in a captive situation to remove the ‘gunk’ was a stressful process for them.

“We’re using warm detergent water to wash them, but to get the actual gunk off, we’re using eucalyptus oil on a cotton bud, and cleaning it off, and then after that we wash them again with detergent to get the eucalyptus oil off,” she said.

“It’s quite a long process... you’ve got to be very gentle, very calm and quiet to do it, because they do stress a lot.”