Q. I found a bird in my backyard and it looks injured, what do I do?

A. The best course of action is always to take the bird to a local vet for assessment. Under New Zealand law, all vets are required to provide emergency care to native birds free of charge. If the assessment is positive, please contact your local bird rescue centres where it can go for continued treatment and rehabilitation. You can find a nationwide list of centres here.

Q. But how do I capture an injured bird?

A. Injured birds go quiet and still by instinct. The best way to capture them is to approach them from behind and cover them with a sheet or towel. Be very careful to fold the wings carefully into the body and then lift them by the shoulders and place them into a cardboard box with air holes. The three bird emergency care tips are to keep the bird quiet, dark, and warm.

Q. It’s the weekend, and I can’t get to a vet until Monday. What do I feed them in the meantime?

A. That depends on the type of bird. Here is a basic list to get you through a couple of days:
Heron – thinly sliced stir-fried beef or thin worm-size slices of boneless fish.
Tui – mix a spoonful of honey with equal amounts of water and apple juice. Add a spoonful of baby Farex if you have it
Duckling – combine the following in a food processor: Watties peas and corn, a slice of brown bread,
and some cat biscuits soaked in water till mushy
Kingfisher – small slivers of beef, mince or cat food
Woodpigeon – chopped fruit and peas and corn, if available
Owl – thumbnail-size chunks of beef
Gannett – thinly sliced, non-oily fish. Gannetts cannot digest oily fish like sardines or pilchers

Q. But I can’t tell what type of bird it is. Do you have any resources that could help me identify it?

A. Certainly. The Department of Consevation (DOC) has a great website that gives pictures and descriptions of all New Zealand birds. Please follow this link: www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/

Q. So you take care of native birds. Are you government funded?

A. No. Michael and Shawn support the sanctuary from their own earnings. We gratefully receive donations from the public. As we are a registered charitable trust, any donations made to the Sanctuary are fully tax-refundable. The IRD will refund one-third of all donations at the end of each tax year.

Q. I would love to adopt a hen! What do I need to get started?

A. When you register your interest in getting a hen from us, we will contact you and give you the opportunity to ask us questions and learn more about keeping hens. We also have created a fact sheet that covers basic hen care for new hen owners. You can download it here.

Q. I don’t live in your area. Where is the best place to go if you’re looking for chickens, or want to find a new home for chickens?

A. Please visit www.chickenrescue.net.nz, a website that covers requests nationwide, or contact your local SPCA.

The Sanctuary is an animal refuge run by Shawn Bishop and Michael Dixon in Matakana, New Zealand. We provide a safe haven for abused and neglected animals, and care for injured or orphaned native birds. A charitable trust has been established for this purpose.

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Thanks to our Sponsors