New aviary a recovery space

Bush Haven Native Bird Rehabilitation Trust native bird intensive care specialists (from left) Douglas Black, Kathy Morrison, Gretchen Ledington and Gloria Harris watch the first kereru hosted in the Otatara-based Bush Haven Native Bird rehabilitation release aviary, which opened last week.

INJURED native land birds will have a new shot at life with the establishment of a release aviary by the Bush Haven Native Bird Rehabilitation Trust in Otatara.

Trust chairperson May Evans said the aviary was a more spacious and safe transitional convalescence space for injured birds to fully recover after more specialised intensive care.

Trust supporters Kathy Morrison and Douglas Black treated kereru, tui, bellbirds, fantails and waxeyes while Gloria Harris focused her care on native moreporks [owls].

Initial treatment usually started with a vet assessment, followed with sheltered, heated boxes, later transitioning to small enclosures and aviaries before being transferred to the Otatara site before release.

“Quite a few birds come in that don’t even survive long enough to get to the vet,” Mrs Evans said

Rehabilitation was always the main goal as native birds could not legally be kept in captivity for more than three months, she said.

Prior to establishing the new release aviary, which sits in quiet native bush, birds were transported to Dunedin to complete their recovery.

“It’s too far for birds to go to Dunedin when they’ve been injured down here.

“That hasn’t been terribly satisfactory, but it’s what we’ve had to do over the last two years.”

Gretchen and Allan Ledington offered a portion of their section to establish the aviary, which was erected by volunteers.

While the Department of Conservation had yet to officially sign off the structure, it had supported the initiative, she said.

“It’s great to have it finished.”

The Bush Haven Native Bird Rehabilitation Trust, started by Mrs Evans and her late husband Russell, was now well established and open to receiving donations to support its operation.