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Bird Rescue News (Autumn 2008)

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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.

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

UPDATE on birds mentioned in the Summer news letter

What an exciting time since the last newsletter.

New Zealand Falcon

Whakatane falcon
An x-ray of the dead falcon mentioned in the last news letter found no pellets present but fractures to the neck and spine area. This makes me think it flew into a window at the Whakatane District Council Building.

Lady Godiva (the newly feathered one)

Rosemary and Lady Godiva
The naked Kiwi regained all her feathers and was liberated on the 13th December in the area that she was found. She came in weighing 1.8kg and was 2.2kg on her release.


Two morepork chicks, about a week old, were handed in from the Doc office Opotiki. These two were treated in the same way as the last moreporks in 2006. They have now been free for over a month and are still around for a top up of food. (Mainly ox heart but the odd mouse too). Grown-up morepork Grown-up morepork

A few grey-faced petrels were handed into Bird Rescue after being found lost in the Whakatane District. Those that survived were released overlooking the ocean between Otarawairere and Ohope. One was returned after release but the second time of release was seen no more. These birds get disorientated by the lights of night time factories and street lights etc. It happens when the birds are fledging (leaving their burrows for the first time). They feed on bioluminescent squid and maybe this is one reason they seek out light. They leave their burrows during dusk and night.

A Long-tailed cuckoo came into care on the 10th March; it seems it may have flown into a window at the Whakatane Hospital. It could not stand when it came in and weighed 72g. I have only managed to release one of these birds before as they seem to damage their back usually when they hit windows. This one was able to stand after a day and began to eat its own food after a few days. It was transferred to an aviary and released on the 20th March weighing 98g. It was also banded for identification later if found. Long-tailed cuckoo

On the 25th March an Australasian Bittern was found in a logging area of Burma Road Ohope. It was very unsteady on its feet and only weighed 440g. Slowly it recovered and put on weight. It was released on the 9th April weighing 1kg. This also has an identification band. It is believed this bird was a juvenile. Australasian Bittern

A few Pied Shags and one Little Black Shag have been admitted with hooks down their throats or caught on their wings. Two released but one shag (pied) died.

One bird that has not been into Bird Rescue before is the Dabchick and that was found in Sullivan Lake on its back, unable to use its legs. This is still in care, it is being forced feed and it still tips over when given a bath. Dabchick Dabchick

Also in care have been little blue penguins, native pigeons, ducks with botulism, white-faced heron and morepork and hawks.


There is at present a bad outbreak of botulism in the area; Ohope Sewage Ponds, Sullivan Lake and Awatapu Lagoon have all had dead and dying ducks etc on them. These are cleared as soon as possible and buried away from other birds as anything that eats either the bird or the maggots will also get botulism.


It was good to get an aviary built for the larger birds and thanks to Bunnings, and Placemakers for their assistance. Also thanks to the staff of the Doc Office Whakatane who made the aviary.


With winter approaching it is a good time to clean out the old nest boxes and get ready for topping up the bird table with food for the cold days ahead.
Well until the next time good birds watching and a big thank you to the team at

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