Our associate in New Zealand, Sandra Kyle, sends news of the group for which she volunteers. This is a passionate group of supporters who generously give up their time to rescue, rehabilitate and release orphaned, sick and injured birds.
Their centres accept and care for all New Zealand birds and wildlife, whether they are native, non-native or pet. They assist thousands of birds each year, victims of cat attacks, road accidents, pollution – such as fishing line and nylon entanglements and botulism – or human cruelty.
The Green Bay property was a bequest by their benefactor Jocelyn Gratten and their vision is to build a Bird Rescue Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre and develop it into a world-class facility.
Bird Rescue was originally formed in 1984 and the foundation members from the early years are still with them today. With the bequest, the members formed the New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust so that they can further continue the work.
They also seek caring adoptive homes. Their birds are for adoption as pets only, after home visits, and breeders are not accepted. An appropriate donation enables them to continue work both with the rehabilitation of wild and pet birds.
Some of the birds which come into the centre for treatment are:
New Zealand Tui
The Tui is a native of New Zealand and the name is Maori. Tui have distinctive and beautiful croaking, gurgling melodies, also singing at night, especially in the full moon period. Their diet is mainly nectar – New Zealand Flax is their favourite – but they also feed on fruit and insects and occasionally pollen and seeds. Tui are considered to be extremely intelligent birds, can imitate human speech and are very territorial, in some instances fighting to the death.
“We get a lot of Tui brought to our centres. Tui babies are often mistaken for Myna babies, so it is important that they are brought to a centre so that they can be identified – their diet is very different from a Myna chick’s.
The Kereru is New Zealand’s only endemic pigeon. They make occasional soft cooing sounds and their wings make a very distinctive “whooshing” sound as they fly. In flight they will ascend slowly before making impressively steep parabolic dives which are thought to be associated with nesting, or nest failure.
The Kereru predominately eat fruit from native trees, but they also enjoy leaves and buds and at certain times of year, when fruit is scarce, leaves comprise most of their diet. They are frequently found in the Kowhai trees and often their crops are so full of berries they have difficulty taking off as they are too heavy, leaving them exposed to predation.
With the extinction of the Moa and the Huia, the Kereru are now the only bird capable of ingesting the large fruit and berries of New Zealand’s native trees and dispersing their seeds.
Kereru are found mostly in the lowland forests of the North, South and Stewart Islands. Numbers have been gradually decreasing with loss of habitat.
The Kereru breeds in the spring and early summer, constructing nests which are an interesting flimsy platform of a single layer of twigs with the contents of the nest being seen from the ground.
The female lays a single egg, with both adults sharing the responsibility of brooding during the 28 day incubation period, the hen through the night and the male in the day, much as pigeons in Europe do. Interestingly, the young stay with their parents for up to two years.
There is only one type of Kingfisher in New Zealand, a sub-species of the Sacred Kingfisher found in Australia. The scientific name is Halycon sancta vagans and the Maori name is ktare.
Kingfishers can be found in all areas but are more commonly found in freshwater or coastal wetlands, forest edges or farmland. They have an insistent ‘kek-kek-kek’ which can be heard as they sit on high. They are very fearless and aggressive birds, attacking other birds and mammals.
Kingfishers use their strong dagger-like bills to build nests in soft tree trunks or steep clay banks and the nest will generally be used year after year.
~ For more on this excellent group, please visit: