Posted on Leave a comment

Grab yourself a limited edition Fur The Love Of It set of 3 badges and help bring our birdies back home!

We all know these beasties cause massive destruction to our natural environment; they destroy the tender new shoots of our endangered flora and eat the eggs of our unique fauna. But did you know there are an estimated 35 million possums in NZ?

Our precious little birdies are doing serious battle just to survive but with your support we can assist them to make a comeback by reducing their predators. So far we have raised over $30k to help our feathered friends with our projects – and we’re only a little outfit with a loyal crew – that’s YOU!

So please do your bit to help eradicate these pesky possums and help save our vulnerable species.

Grab you and your friends a set of collectable NZ badges for $25.

All proceeds will go towards possum eradication on the Banks Peninsula. Big thanks from the birdies!

Go on…do it fur the love of it!

P.S. Thanks for supporting our recent Great Possum Vest Auction – all money raised will go towards pest-eradication on the Banks Peninsula so our unique native birds cannot just survive, but thrive.

Posted on Leave a comment

Que pasa, Nigel? Grey parrot with impeccable British accent returned to Californian owner after four years… but now he speaks SPANISH

  • African grey parrot Nigel lived in California with British owner Darren Chick
  • But went missing in 2010 – not to be found for four more years
  • By the time Nigel was returned his accent – and language – transformed
  • May have learned Spanish from Panamanian dog-groomer who found him

A British-sounding parrot called Nigel went missing for four years – and came home with a Spanish accent.

Nigel, who lived in Torrance, California with his British owner, Darren Chick, flew away one day in 2010, and was gone so long he was given up for lost.

But, in a case of mistaken identity, Nigel was returned to another pet owner, who was also looking for their African grey parrot, and was able to pass him on to Chick.

African Grey

However, during his long absence, Nigel had forgotten all about his British roots – and started speaking Spanish.

Rather than swapping pleasantries in English, the bird now fires off a ‘¿Que pasa?’ to passing humans, the Daily Breeze reported.

After Nigel went missing, he lived in the wild – presumably around Torrance – until he was found a few months ago by a local business owner, Julissa Sperling.

After hearing Nigel making noise outside her house, she took him in and searched for potential owners. Instead of his actual owner, she found an ad put out by Teresa Micco, a local vet.

When the mistake emerged, Micco noticed that Nigel had a microchip, and used it to find Chick and reunite the two.

Sperling, a Panamanian who speaks Spanish, said Nigel might have picked up some of her phrases while waiting in the shop.

She said: ‘He was the happiest bird. He was singing and talking without control. He was barking like the dogs. I’m from Panama and he was saying, “What happened?” in Spanish.’

However, when Sperling handed Nigel over to Teresa Micco, a local vet, she realized he wasn’t the right bird.

Micco had been searching for her own African grey parrot, Benjamin, who flew away this February.

But Micco was able to track down Chick with information from Nigel’s microchip, and brought him home shortly after taking him in.

She said: ‘I introduced myself and said, “Have you lost a bird?” He initially said no. But he thought I meant recently.’

When she verified Chick’s name and said she had his African grey parrot, ‘He looked at me like I was crazy.’

Chick says last week’s reunion brought tears of joy to his eyes – despite the fact that Nigel bit him when he first tried to pick him up.

He said: ‘He’s doing perfect. It’s really weird. I knew it was him from the minute I saw him.

Nigel is the fifth parrot guided home by Micco, who has been running ads for her own missing bird for nine months.

Article By Kieran Corcoran for MailOnline and Associated Press


Posted on Leave a comment

Pigeon Article: Security check for 10,000 pigeons in China

Some pigeons received a special examination for security purposes ahead of China’s National Day on Wednesday.Prior to the traditional annual release of the birds, each pigeon received an “anal security check for suspicious objects,” the Chinese state-owned newspaper People’s Daily reported.The government-backed Beijing Times also reported the birds were collected from four local carrier pigeon associations. In return for 4 yuan (65 cents in USD) and a participation stamp on their membership card, members offered the 10,000 birds, which been trained for more than half a year.
In the full-page feature, the article described how a reporter accompanied pigeon association members in the West District to Beijing’s Yuetan Sports Center at 8 p.m. the evening before the ceremony.

Members examined the wings, tails, anuses and legs of each pigeon for “suspicious objects” and video recorded the process, the report said. Four trucks then took the birds about 4 miles east to Tiananmen Square at 25 mph to prevent carsickness.

Representing peace, the birds were released at Tiananmen Square during the flag rising at sunrise on Wednesday in honor of China’s National Day, which celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

As carrier pigeons, the birds return to their owners in about 10 minutes, one member told the Beijing Times.

In 2013, Chinese state media also reported that 60,000 carrier pigeons were injected with a vaccine as a precaution against the H7N9 bird flu virus.


Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014 | 12:52 PM ET

Posted on Leave a comment

Kiwi bird hatched after 78 days of incubation

The first week of spring has brought the first kiwi chick of the season.

Tuatahi, meaning first in Maori, hatched at Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, on Thursday.

Dad Para sat on the egg for 59 days in the Maungataniwha Forest in Hawkes Bay before the egg was lifted and delivered to the centre, where the team incubated it through to hatch, Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager Claire Travers said.

“After 78 days of incubation the chick was so keen to hatch that he/she kicked its hocks out of the rear end of the shell.

“Unlike other birds, kiwi chicks don’t have an egg tooth to chip their way out of the egg, instead they rely on pushing their way out with their strong leg and neck muscles. So this chick needed a bit of assistance to hatch.”

One of the keepers taped a pad over the hocks for the chick to push against, and after a few more pushes it hatched, weighing a healthy 375g, Ms Travers said.

There were 11 eggs in incubation at the centre that came from across the North Island, with more due over the next few days.

One of the eggs already in incubation was close to hatching, with the rest a week or so away from emerging, she said.


Posted on Leave a comment

Sticky Beak is New Zealand’s Tooled-Up Kea

Fiordland kea have been caught red-handed using sticks to set off stoat traps. This footage from a motion-activated camera, edited-down from two hours worth of footage, shows a male kea “whittling” sticks to try to set off a trap:
(Source: Matt Goodman)
Sticky Beak is New Zealand’s Tooled-Up Kea

Crafty kea have once again proven their status as New Zealand’s smartest birds, this time being caught on camera using sticks to set off stoat traps.

The puzzle started in Fiordland, where rangers had noticed solid wooden stoat traps had been triggered, often with sticks left behind.Mat Goodman, 23, picked up the mystery while working with a documentary team in Fiordland and wound up investigating further as his final project for a University of Canterbury degree. “It was obvious that it was kea really, but nobody had seen it happen,” he said. So he set out to catch the culprits in action using motion-activated cameras. But the alpine parrots did not take kindly to surveillance. “I had about four cameras that were ripped to bits by kea,” Goodman said. After some trial and error Goodman found a setup that enabled his camera to survive several weeks until he could return to rescue it. It was that camera which caught the incriminating evidence. Over two hours, what appeared to be a single bird “meddled” with a stoat trap, collecting and testing sticks until it found one that set the trap off. Goodman said it appeared the bird was “whittling” sticks to make them the right size, pulling off any twigs before testing them.If a stick did not work, the bird tossed it away in a manner that seemed remarkably like frustration.Goodman sent the footage to Auckland University psychologist Dr Gavin Hunt, who has studied “tool use” by New Caledonian crows.Hunt agreed, it seemed the bird caught on camera was fashioning sticks to set the traps off which would be classed as tool use.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) had already modified the stoat traps several times to try to stop them being set off.

After the last modification Goodman said it took a few months before rangers started seeing the traps set off again.

“It’s probably very frustrating for DOC,” Goodman said. Particularly as it appeared the only reward the birds got was “a very loud bang”.

Though the traps were baited with food, the bait was almost always left behind after the trap had been triggered.

“So that’s going to annoy a few people I think,” Goodman said. “If it is the bait then there’s a possibility to try to change bait.”

But Goodman thought the annoyance was worth it for the crafty birds which he said were an “asset to New Zealand”.

Article by: Sarah-Jane O’Connor – Sunday Star Times

Posted on Leave a comment

Extra species change birds’ pecking order

Extra species change birds’ pecking order

Photo / Thinkstock

There are 462 more species of bird in the world than previously thought after the most comprehensive avian analysis ever undertaken identified 46 new species of parrot, 26 extra owls and a host of others.

The study of the world’s 4,087 known species of “non-songbirds” discovered that there are 4,549 of them, including 36 newly discovered hummingbirds, as well as pigeons, guinea fowls, partridges, ducks, ostriches and quail.

The increase comes as a result of research by Birdlife International, which found that hundreds of birds previously regarded as sub-species – essentially two or more different “races” of the same species – were different enough to be considered a separate species in their own right.

Conservationists welcomed the recognition of the newly classified species, but cautioned that by splitting up often small populations more had also become endangered.

“It is exciting to think that there are even more bird species than we previously thought.

However, many of these are highly threatened,” said Nigel Collar, who worked on the survey for BirdLife International, which compiles the official “Red List” of endangered birds.

The newly discovered species – many of which are located on small islands around Indonesia and the Philippines – are almost twice as likely to be endangered as the bird population in general, as they are living in smaller groups than previously acknowledged.

Grahame Madge, of the RSPB, said: “It’s good news that we have more genetic diversity, but the flip side is that conservation groups already struggling with high numbers of endangered species have suddenly seen their in-trays become larger.”

Article by:  Tom Bawden from The Independent

Posted on Leave a comment

Storms Bring Rare Avian Visitors

Conservationists are puzzled at a freaky phenomenon blamed on this winter’s monster storms.

A bird rescue centre is caring for six giant petrels after concerned members of the public found the birds in distress.

New Zealand Bird Rescue’s Lyn MacDonald said in 27 years working at the shelter, she’d never had more than one giant petrel at a time. In fact, she rarely saw more than one a year. Each of the six birds now at the shelter arrived separately over the past few weeks.

The latest, found near Muriwai, arrived yesterday.

(One of the giant petrels which have been rescued by New Zealand Bird Rescue over recent weeks. Photo / Renee Henderson-Vousden)

MacDonald believed the most rational explanation lay with wild storms of the last few weeks causing the birds to be blown off course. Yet there were plenty of similar storms over the last quarter-century, and no subsequent increase in wounded petrel sightings.

Initial blood tests indicated some of the birds suffered from internal bleeding.

MacDonald’s colleague Renee Henderson-Vousden also met the birds at the Green Bay rescue centre. “They’re amazing to be around,” she said. “Up close they’re really large.”

Giant Petrels have some unflattering nicknames – stinker, stinkpot and sea vulture – but Henderson-Vousden said they didn’t smell at all and were delightful company, as well as being majestic.

Henderson-Vousden said the big birds, all young adults, were moderately territorial but not fighting.

All were members of the northern giant petrel species, distinctive for their pinkish tips on their bills. They were all expected to fully recover, even though one was virtually dead on arrival a few weeks ago, MacDonald said.

New Zealand Birds Online lists the species as naturally uncommon.

According to, nearby populations included 230 breeding pairs on Antipodes Island, another 230 on Campbell Island, and 50 pairs on the Auckland Islands.

In the 1990s, thousands were believed to have been killed in longline fisheries for Patagonian toothfish. The species has since recovered and its numbers are thought to be increasing.

In March 2012, the Department of Conservation was amazed after a juvenile northern giant petrel landed near Wellington after it was thought to have “hitched” a 500km ride with string winds from its home in the Chatham Islands.

MacDonald said petrels were quiet, placid birds and had no fear of humans because in their natural habitat they rarely encountered people.

The Rescue Centre has been monitoring the birds and feeding them. It planned to release the petrels back into the wild soon. People who wish to donate to the birds’ rehabilitation can do so at

Article by:  John Weekes Reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Owl and the Pussycat – not quite!

Rather, the Morepork and the Hunter Cat!

My niece’s cat brought in a ‘present’ for her yesterday afternoon – a Morepork (or Ruru).

Moreporks are nocturnal – sleep all day and come out at night – so imagine this poor Ruru’s shock when the cat caught it in the daylight hours.

My niece freed the Morepork from the cat and after a few minutes it started to fly around the house….. and then out into the big wide world again.  Happy ending – yes!

By the way this all occurred in Auckland’s inner-city suburb of Remuera!  Moreporks in Remuera – who would have thought!

Posted on Leave a comment

Death of a Companion Pet Bird.

Let’s Talk Birds originally wrote the following article about Cockatiels, but generally this advice
can apply to most pet birds and parrots (source: LTB Cockatiel e-book)

Sad Times
The death of one of a pair of cockatiels is good reason for concern on your part. Your remaining cockatiel will mourn the loss of its companion and you will need to give your bird the extra attention it needs to help it through this time. You will also need to monitor your cockatiel closely to check that it stays healthy – monitor its eating, drinking, sleeping and the droppings.

All cockatiels react differently to this situation so there are no hard and fast rules. The amount of time the two birds were together and whether or not they had bred and successfully reared chicks does impact on the situation.

Some cockatiels do fret terribly with the loss of their companion yet others come round fairly quickly.  They do go through a slight depression and you’ll have to be careful that the loss of its friend doesn’t turn your cockatiel into a screamer.

Do not consider obtaining another cockatiel, especially not in the early stages.  Introducing a new cockatiel at this time normally does more harm than good.  Watch your bird closely and see how it gets along in the next few weeks.

I know of someone who had a male cockatiel die, leaving behind his female companion of ten years.  The female cockatiel cried for a while and turned to its owner for more attention than usual.  The male cockatiel wasn’t replaced, and the female coped just fine, taking a week or two to adjust to the situation.  These two cockatiels, however, did live in separate cages side-by-side and had never bred.

Posted on Leave a comment

What treatment for pet birds infested by worms?

Each worm type requires different treatment, with diagnosis normally given by an avian veterinarian.

Avian Vet Sick Pet Bird Diagnosis

Tapeworm are difficult to detect, even by a vet.  Treatment is generally by eradication of the insects carrying the eggs, so use of an insecticide in and around the aviary.

Roundworm are the most commonly found parasite in budgies and cockatiels so bird worming products for this are readily available at pet suppliers or via the internet.  It normally comes as a water-soluble treatment, where you dissolve the medication in your bird’s drinking water.  It is generally not as effective as you have to rely on your bird’s intake of the medicated water, and without watching your budgie or cockatiel for 24 hours you cannot be sure of this.

The best way to worm your pet bird is to have an avian vet or a bird specialty shop give a direct dose of medication into the bird’s crop by using a ‘‘gavage needle”.  If you do suspect your pet bird has worms, ask for a laxative to be added to the worming treatment.  The laxative will help your birds pass the worms more easily; without it, dislodging a heavy infestation may cause intestinal blockage.