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Bird Rescue News (Spring 2010)

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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

Apologies first

Well first of all my apologies for not keeping up to date with newsletters. Before I knew it the middle of winter was upon me!

What's happening

What has been happening in the bird rescue world. Well lots really, with such a wet winter most bird rescue centers have been having above normal numbers of native pigeons. Due to the bad weather the food source gets spoilt and birds go down in condition. Then it is a spiral downwards as they are then too weak to look for food. There seems also to have been more window strikes than usual with these birds.

As many of you know the reflection on a window gives the impression that there are trees and bushes just through the window. Bang! One very sore or in many cases dead pigeon. Other birds such as kingfishers, cuckoos and my first Kaka also strike windows/doors etc.

The Kaka was bleeding from the beak and nostril and unfortunately died the next morning. Nothing looked wrong with it except internal bleeding. It has now been sent by Doc to be mounted.

Another interesting case was a morepork that had got parapara seeds stuck all over its feathers. This plant is known as the bird catcher tree. The seeds stick to the bird and when the bird dies (as it can’t fly with its feathers all stuck up) the seed has its own little bit of compost, the dead bird. Once the feathers were cleaned of the seeds the bird was released. The shrubs that have these seeds are growing outside a Commerce Street building in Whakatane and once the people are told the plant is in seed again they make arrangements for the seeds to be clipped off the plant. Photo: source of parapara seeds
parapara plant


The falcon that was mentioned in the last news letter stayed around until November and then was not seen again. One can only hope that nothing untoward has happened to her.

In care more recently

Photo: Salvin’s Mollymawk (albatross)
Salvin’s Mollymawk (albatross)


A Salvin’s Mollymawk (albatross) was in care. The southern seafarers called the birds Mollymawk and the name has stuck. A beautiful bird and I was sure when it came in that it would not last the night. But once the food was started and care given it perked up. I had to go away for the weekend to a conference and one of our local Doc officers did the feeding and cleaning for me, and a good job he made of it.

Salvin’s Mollymawk (albatross) Salvin’s Mollymawk (albatross)

Each day after I came back I took the Salvin’s up to Otarawairere Road where there are good places for runways for the bird to take off. Which it did after some days admiring the scenery.

Little blue penguin

A little blue penguin came in moulting and was under care for a few weeks while it put on weight and got its new feathers. It was released off the Whakatane River Mouth from the boat Diveworks. Thanks to the skipper Phil van Dusschoten for allowing me to use his boat. It is good to let other people see that sometimes we have a good outcome of birds coming into care. The bird had come in underweight so would have died if not brought in.


A sick Kiwi came into care in March; I had it for 18 days but was not happy with its progress so it was returned to Kiwi Encounter (Rotorua) where more intensive care was given. The bird was released back to the wild after a week or so in their care.

Grey-faced petrels

The usual influx of grey-faced petrels were brought into care during the December — January fledging time. Those birds that were released were all banded, and released from a high point overlooking the sea at Otarawairere (between Ohope and Whakatane)


Rhododendrons are coming into flower. Keep a lookout for sick Tui and bellbird that may have taken the poisonous nectar from the flowers. (Not all Rhododendrons are toxic, but once you start to find sick Tui you will know that particular one is toxic). Keep the bird warm and take it to your nearest bird rescue centre for treatment.

Juvenile shags

Also in care have been two juvenile Shags, one a pied the other a black shag, both underweight and one having heaps of lice on board! I think with all the bad weather Whakatane has been having the rivers are running dirty so birds cannot see the fish to catch.


There was another conference for bird rehabbers held in Christchurch in August and it was great to see many new faces among those doing bird rescue work. For the last couple of years it has been proposed to have a committee to give support, help and guidelines for people doing rescue work. The name decided upon was WReNNZ standing for Wildlife Rehabbers Network of New Zealand.

The committee consists of vets, rehabbers, input from Doc and Massey University Wildlife Unit. It is great that more people are doing rescue work and giving their time and money to help the birds.

Don’t forget if you take a bird to a centre offer a donation which will help in some way for the care of the bird.

and finally

I have a helper here in our district for the introduced birds and ducklings now; her name is Julie Collins, so thank you Julie for offering to help.

Thank you to for the webpage’s for bird rescue and to Jaclyn for uploading all the data.

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