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Bird Rescue News (NZ Summer 2007)

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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.

General reminder:

  • Hungry hawks often feed off road kills and many get hit by cars. Again, if possible, slow down and give them a chance to escape. The blood of the animal they are feeding on is stuck to the road and as they try to fly off with their prey they can’t lift off.

Bird Rescue News

a long time since...

Well it has been a long time since my last news letter, the reason being that we have moved house and Whakatane Bird Rescue was on hold for a few months.

After leaving the house at Otarawairere, (which was overlooking the sea) and spending a few months in a rented unit we at last found the ideal place. A small lifestyle block of just over 7 acres. This has a stream and an area that was ideal for creating a wetlands. Bird rescue was up and running again in late April. I had to wait some months before the Bird Rescue first aid room was delivered but that is now here. We brought one aviary from Otarawairere but need more. The Department of Conservation in Whakatane has sponsored an aviary for Kiwi. I am now trying to find funding to build three larger aviaries to house birds such as native pigeon, morepork and all the other types of birds that may be brought into care. I am trying to get a sponsor from businesses in town to help with the project, but it is proving a hard task.

Birds in care

Two Kiwi have been in care with injuries to their feet, one has been transferred to Massey Wildlife Unit for further treatment. Latest news is that its leg was removed as there was an infection in the bone which was stopping the bone healing. The Kiwi that is still here was very hard to get eating on its own, but now it is scoffing all its food. It now weighs in at 2.6kg, putting on 200g in the last month.

A native pigeon was released after many weeks in care. It was found in town and may have either flown into a window or been chased by a falcon. It had lost feathers and body condition. This too was eating on its own. It is so much better when you do not have to force feed birds. The less you have to handle them the better. Even weighing is kept to a minimum once the bird is eating on its own.

Two morepork chicks were found after a tree was cut down in the country. The tree was in danger of falling after wind damage. The gentleman that found the chicks said there were altogether six morepork chicks but only two were alive. This is a very large amount for morepork. And one now wonders if most morepork lay this amount of eggs and then the strongest survive? The morepork chicks must have only been a few days old when the tree was felled. It is interesting seeing their development and now they are throwing up pellets with the skins of mice that they have been given. They will now be able to go out into the small aviary.

morepork chicks 12/11/2006
morepork chicks on 12 Nov. 2006

morepork chicks 19/11/2006
morepork chicks on 19 Nov. 2006

morepork chicks 26/11/2006
morepork chicks on 26 Nov. 2006

morepork chicks 04/12/2006
morepork chicks on 4 Dec. 2006

morepork chicks 11/12/2006
morepork chicks on 11 Dec. 2006

Not far from where we are living we have the Whakatane River, this has shingle beds which are an ideal habitat for the banded dotterel. One young chick was found by a gentleman walking his dogs who brought it into care. The bird weighed in at 24g and looked healthy. It was soon eating mealworms, beetles etc supplemented by hardboiled egg yolk, ox heart and rice with a dusting of insectivore powder. I also collected sand hoppers from the beach. Sand and stones where in containers in the cage so the bird was use to finding bugs under the stones. The bird was released in the same area that it came from and weighed 50g on release. It ran around on the stones by the river before flying off down stream. This was really great to see.

banded dotterel
banded dotterel

Five mallard ducklings were released here and are still around the area and last seen on the stream by one of our paddocks. The Fish and Game Council are hopefully going to supply some larger runs for the young ducklings as the only cage I have for them is very small. With the wetlands getting up and running it will be great to be able to release all the ducks in this area. Help has been given with the plants for this area by Environment Bay of Plenty, Whakatane District Council (swap a private for a native tree), and scrounging around plant nurseries for plants that have been thrown out because they were to not up to the standard for selling. The Fish and Game Council also have plants that will be sent over soon. These will have to wait till the autumn for planting and will stay in our shade house until then.

It is great that so many agencies are willing to help with supplying plants. Even the wetland project (and fencing off the stream from stock) had funding from the Whakatane District Council (Preservation Incentive Fund). They paid half of the cost of the fencing and digging the wetlands.

It is always worth trying for funding from Councils in your area, if you do want to enhance the environment.

Well that is all for now, a very safe and Happy New Year and hope you enjoy the festive season.

Don’t forget if you are pruning trees check first to make sure you haven’t a nest with young chicks or eggs in. Once they have left the nest then it is safe to take/prune the tree.
Take care and until the next news letter good bird watching.

Rosemary Tully
Whakatane Bird Rescue, New Zealand
[email protected] 
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