Flora and FaunaWildlife



Every three months, Rose Ringed Parakeets with cut flight feathers get a new lease of life in Mangaluru.

Thanks to bird rescuers and veterinary doctors at Chitte Pili Rescue Centre (CPRC) in Mangaluru, Karnataka that birds with damaged feathers are treated with all care and concern.

Here, both confiscated and birds with cut feathers are treated and then released back in the wild. Below picture shows a parakeet after implantation.

Every 2-3 months, Chitte Pili which has the necessary facilities for treatment – receives 20 such cases especially juvenile and badly injured parakeets.

In Mangaluru, parakeets are either sent to Pilikula or Chitte Pili depending on the court decision. This Rose Ringed Parakeet (pic above) was rescued more than two weeks ago and brought to Chitte Pili by animal rescuer Bhuvan Devadiga. One side of its flight feathers was cut intentionally to turn it into a permanent captive.

Dr Yashaswi Naravi of Chitte Pilli Rescue Centre said, “Such incidents are becoming frequent and the need to develop awareness among people not to buy or keep parakeets as pets has become imperative. Other birds with cut feathers which are rescued by activists and confiscated by the Karnataka Forest Department are Black Kites, Peacocks, and Alexandrine Parakeets (which are usually smuggled). However, it the Rose Ringed Parakeet which is the most targeted bird by pet dealers, shops and hunters and every day, they are hunted and hurt with their flight feathers partially cut.”


At Chitte Pili, these parakeets with cut feathers receive the best treatment. The procedure for treating the damaged feathers of birds is known as Feather Imping. 

This is done usually in cases of birds where the flight feathers are partially damaged. The 14 flight feathers of both the wings are very important for bird species to fly and change their directions.

Dr Yashaswi adds, “Even if we pluck the damaged feathers, they will grow back but this takes a long time. And, so to reduce the time in captivity and to minimise captive stress and imprinting, this imping procedure is done.”

The moulted feathers of the same species are used in the imping procedure. Usually, it is a practice to collect and keep moulted feathers of different bird species for such procedures in wildlife hospitals. Each flight feather has distinct structural details and further, both the left- and right-wing feathers must be identified, marked, and kept separately.

Under the Feather Imping procedure, a bird is anaesthetised, then the cut feathers are measured and repaired with the marked feathers one by one. 

After this, their flight will be checked before releasing it. However, only if the bird is fit to be released, it is released in the wild.

Usually, Parakeets and other bird species are released back to the wild close to the rescue spot after thorough checks. The Feather Imping Procedure was done by Dr Meghana Pemmaiah of Chitte Pili.

It is high time, authorities take strict action against hunters and poachers who indulge in intentional cutting of flight feathers and disable the flight of many a wild bird species.