Kereru have taken a hammering this summer but staff at NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo have been pulling out all the stops to get injured and orphaned birds back in the air.
The zoo has accepted six kereru (native pigeons) into its care since December.
The injured birds are housed out of the public eye before they are released back into the wild.
NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker says Brooklands Zoo staff have to deal with birds that are completely wild and often stressed when they arrive.
“Some of these animals are protected species and our keepers have been specially trained in how to care for them. They have created a calm environment to help them recover,” Ms Baker says.
Brooklands Zoo has a Department of Conservation (DOC) permit to assist with rehabilitating injured or orphaned native birds, such as kereru, tui and morepork, as well as protected reptiles.
Kereru are large and relatively heavy birds and are prone to injury.
We can all take simple measures to help protect kereru, says Ms Baker.
These include not speeding on the roads, keeping dogs under control in the bush, putting stickers on large windows, and avoiding planting trees, such as puriri, which attract kereru, right next to large viewing windows.
“Most people think of them as quite common birds, and although they are not rare, they only have one chick a year and it takes 10 weeks to leave the nest, during which time it is very vulnerable to predators,” says Ms Baker.
Brooklands Zoo opened in 1965 and about 113,000 people visit every year. NPDC owned and operated, the family-focused zoo is home to a wide variety of species, including farmyard animals, reptiles and amphibians, and exotic mammals and birds.