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Bird Rescue News (Jan/Feb 2004)

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These can then be pasted onto this page and we may be able to gain more knowledge.

e-mail about found birds

If sending emails about birds that you have found, please give me the area you live in. This will make it easier for me to let you know of a nearby carer.

A few things to remember for the welfare of birds in care:

  • Not to stroke or pet the bird. This will remove the oils from the feathers and make it human friendly. This is not a good idea for a wild bird.
  • Not to keep the bird longer than is needed. Once the bird has reached its goal weight and is feeding, and has recovered from its injuries/sickness then it is time for release.
  • Not to get the bird use to dogs or cats. This will result in the bird thinking all cats and dogs are bird friendly —they are not. A dog that may lick and wash a bird in a friendly manner will remove oils, this is not good for the bird. The next dog it meets may well bite and the bird is killed.

Bird Rescue News

Pied stilt released

Happy New Year to you all, sorry this newsletter is late but I have had a very busy month.

The pied stilt chick that I had in November (weighing 5g)was released during January. It was in care for 49 days and its release weight was 150g.

The bird made the local press with a lovely photo of it being released (in Ohiwa Harbour) and also flying. When we have birds in care that need a large area to fly, it is always such a thrill to see them fly in the wild. The aviary is not big enough for them to practice.

The bird flew and then came back to its release area where it started probing the mudflats.
Pied Stilt released

Grey-faced petrel season

The grey-faced petrel season is over again for a year. Each year when the petrels leave their burrows some get disorientated and instead of heading out to sea, end up in town and further afield like the Tasman Mill in Kawerau. They get attracted to the night-lights and as you would expect, places like mills and other large factories that work day and night have large floodlights. This year very few petrels came into care. I think one of the reasons being is that the weather conditions were good during the fledging time.


A few penguins have been brought in with damage to their back/head etc. Some I have kept for a short while only to have them put down (or died).

I still have the little blue penguin from November that I am waiting to moult. It had injuries to legs and back and the feathers need replacing on its back.

Gannets, banding and other thoughts

Each year gannets are banded at White Island, and as more and more tour boats visit the island or that area, they find distressed gannet chicks either in the sea or away from their colony after banding.

This year, for the first time, a tour operator has brought a few back to be cared for (all of these birds had bands).

One bird, found in the water, did not have its full flight feathers or a healthy weight. It weighed 1.6kg. Adults should be over 2kg and juveniles about to fledge, should be around 3kg. The bird had to be put down due to a broken wing.

On it says the fledglings should reach around 3kg to be able to have that body fat to see them through until they learn to catch their own food.

Three more chicks were brought to me the day after the first one, and again none were ready to fly.
  • 1. Weighed 1.6kg throwing up food (how long had it been without being fed?) It was given liquid food but died.
  • 2. Weighed 1.3kg white fluff all over.
  • 3. Weighed 1.1kg white fluff all over, developed chest/fungal problems…recovered after treatment.
All of these birds were found away from the colony. Other chicks were seen but could not be recovered and a few were seen in the sea unable to fly.

Banding has been going on for 46 years. How many years do we need records for? If its numbers that are required surely a photo taken from the air would give the numbers (by someone experienced in reading information)? What papers have been written with the information on banding these gannets?

Thank you Sanford

Sanford from Tauranga, who deal in fish, donated 25kg of fish. It is so good to get help this way. Thank you Sanford.


A few cases of botulism have been around, ducks have been found dead on Sullivan Lake in Whakatane. A duck came in with it, but died overnight.

At the moment I have a muscovy duck with symptoms of botulism and also a female hawk.

With botulism anything that eats either the carcass or the maggots that get laid on the carcass will also get botulism.

All dead birds, eels, fish etc must be buried to stop the botulism spreading. Sometimes a bird may fly from one pond/lake to another and spread the disease.

I find supporting the head, and flushing the bird with liquids, (electrolytes) can help. Sometimes the birds are too far gone, but always try.

Birds that have been brought in suffering symptoms of it in the past are kingfisher, shag, and New Zealand dotterel, ducks, swan and hawk.

Racing pigeon found

An racing pigeon got lost and was found on White Island—lucky we have tours out there— Its band was traced to Auckland. This bird was only a young bird and had never been put into a race. Somehow it had been frighten or perhaps caught up in bad weather and ended out at White. The owner was contacted and now has the bird back in his care. It is great when we can get racing pigeons back to their owners. Only too often the owner does not seem to want to take the trouble to recover the bird.

Bird Rescue seminar — August 7th & 8th

Whakatane Bird Rescue is again going to run a “Bird Rescue Weekend”. This will take place on August 7th & 8th.

The last one was held two years ago and was very successful.

This years topics include, kiwi, raptors, penguins, crop feeding, keeping you safe, talks by Dr Brett Gartrell and Dr Richard Norman, both from Massey University.

It is really great to exchange ideas and offer help to one another.

If you are interested please contact me by email, as spaces are limited.

Rosemary Tully
Whakatane Bird Rescue, New Zealand
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