A new disease known as Pigeon Paramyxovirus, is now in Australia. It is thought it could possibly have been brought into the Country via smuggling of racing pigeons [from Iraq]. Quarantine does not screen for this disease.
On September 11.th 2011 sick pigeons were taken to a clinic in Melbourne. A 60% mortality has been reported. It spread to wild pigeons [feral pigeons] within 28 days. Racing and practice flights of racing pigeons was halted for 3 months.
May 12th 2012 the disease was found in a hobby flock of pigeons.
June 27th in a racing flock in NSW.
It is a notifiable disease. It is not Newcastle Disease, but is from the same Family.
Neurological signs : head tremor; ataxia [failure of muscle co-ordination, irregular muscle action]; not flying; weight loss; not able to land well.
Species know to have been affected : Sparrowhawk; Crested Pigeon [both native species]; Turtledove.
DO NOT REHABILITATE OR RELEASE FERAL PIGEONS AND DOVES, it is already illegal to rehab. and release these non-native, feral species but now releasing these species presents a very real danger to our native species. Also choosing to keep them or give them to others adds to the risk of wild native birds succumbing to the disease as well as birds, native and non-native already in captivity.
If you think you may have a bird suffering this disease, call the animal disease hotline on 1800 675 888 [24hr service].