Mar 252012
 

On Sunday, 25 March 2012 we received a visit from a special young man – Jack McKenzie aged 11 from James Hargest Junior High School had, as part of a school project, played his trombone – busking – in several parts of Otago and Southland and collected $80 which he brought to Bush Haven to help care for the birds.

This was such a special surprise and we would like to thank you most sincerely Jack.Also Florence, who we believe also helped with the busking.  Didn’t realise that before.

See photos of Jack busking, with Florence and Dad, and presenting the donation to us at Bush Haven.

Mar 252012
 

On 10 February 2010, 20 Canadian visitors staying with local Friendship Force members together with their hosts, viewed three kereru leaving the aviary at 49 Bryson Road.

These birds were banded and had a yellow numbered jess on one leg.

One of the tourists took a great photograph of the birds leaving.  

 

 

 

Mar 252012
 

On Saturday afternoon, 11 February 2012 in front of Frances from The Eye, several local people and 16 German visitors being hosted with Friendship Force members, four rehabilitated kereru were released at Bush Haven.

The first three birds flew out rapidly and the fourth took its time, but finally left.  All birds were banded and carried a red ‘jess’ on one leg for identification.

Mar 212012
 

On 6 November 2010 an Open Day was held at Bush Haven to promote the products for Pestbusters and to release three kereru which had been in rehabilitation.

Southland Times photographer, Robyn Edie took a brilliant photo of the birds flying out, managing to also get Russell and some of the people gathered round in the photo.

 

Mar 212012
 

Up until January 2012 Bubs has always nested on neighbouring properties but at the end of January a nest was found on our property.  Russell photographed the nest with its one egg – not a very substantial nest but still ‘at home’.

 

 Bubs hung around the tree and we saw her sitting close by with her mate on the nest. 

Sadly a few days later we found the egg broken, a few feathers on the ground and Bubs didn’t come for food that day.  We feared the worst – a possum or rat had got her, crushed and eaten the egg and injured Bubs.

We were devasted, as we have our property pretty well protected from predators, but they are very devious.

A day or so later Bubs appeared again with a couple of feathers missing but otherwise as good as gold.  She didn’t tell us what had happened.

Good news follows – we haven’t found it but we believe she is now nesting somewhere else on our property as she doesn’t seem to fly across the road any more and for that we are thankful as we held our collective breath many times as she flew down low when we could hear cars on the road.

Like with our children, we always said ‘watch for cars’ when she flew off but she’s a wild bird after all!  What does she understand?

Mar 212012
 
Jason Hosking closeup of Bubs

In winter, 2002 a kereru chick which had fallen from a nest in a storm was handed to May and Russell from the Department of Conservation.  This bird was successfully hand-raised but due to it being completely raised by humans, it was at first feared it would not be able to cope with release to the wild so it was kept and fed in the aviary for some time. 

 In 2004 DoC commenced a three-year project to evaluate the kereru and tui in an urban setting and May and Russell became an integral part of the project, as, while continuing to care for injured birds, they also took several kereru caught in mist-nets by DoC staff which ‘sulked’ for a few days, sometimes weeks when caught to have transmitters attached for the research.  These birds were later released either with or without transmitters.

 At the end of March 2005 it was decided to release the hand-raised chick, named ‘Bubs’ with one of these transmitters on and she became a valued part of the research, finding a mate, building four nests and raising two chicks on nearby properties in the first year ‘out’. 

 Two of her nests were videoed and this provided valuable knowledge of kereru nest-building and chick rearing, as the transmitter stayed on her tail feathers for over a year before the feathers moulted and the transmitter was consequently dropped.

Bubs and her mate actually built four nests, successfully raising a chick in the first; having a second chick taken by a hawk [captured on camera], a third egg fell through the flimsy nest, and lucky fourth was videoed by DoC from start of nest building until the chick fledged.

In 2012 Bubs is still nesting in her home area of Bryson Road, comes for feeds regularly while rearing chicks and disappears for several days at a time at the end of the season, as well as other shorter periods.

  

Bubs is a great hit with visitors to the property, especially children as she will sit quietly on someone’s arm or nearby secure branch and eat from a dish of food.

She has occasionally brought a young bird to the house and her mate also sometimes comes and watches her feed.  

 

With a rate of even two per season, although she may have reared more – we believe Bubs has contributed 14 kereru to the Otatara area in the seven years since she was released e We are pretty sure she has reared more than two several years because of the frequency of her coming to feed.

 

Mar 212012
 

We welcome groups of visitors to view the parrot collection and the birds in rehabilitation, on Wednesdays or Thursdays during Autumn, Spring and Summer between the hours of 10.00 am and 3.00 pm, to be arranged by phoning 03.2130530.

A gold coin donation per person would be gratefully accepted towards the cost of feeding and housing the rehab birds from groups other than schools – we do not require any donations from schools, as we believe we owe it to the birds to help educate young people in their importance and care.

On the property you will be shown wood pigeons [kereru] and tuis if they are in care in various stages of rehabilitation, and the reasons they are in care will be explained.

You can also view the collection of parrots, both native and exotic, including South Island Kaka and red and yellow-crowned Kakariki.

Easily accessed toilet facilities available, and viewing areas are wheelchair friendly. Plenty of off-road parking space available.

Mar 212012
 

Many birds come to Bush Haven after striking / flying into windows.  If the window breaks you have a large payment or small insurance claim to replace the window – the bird generally doesn’t have terric injuries as the window takes the brunt of the impact.

However if the window does not break you will see an imprint of a bird’s body and wings and the bird will almost always receive severe bruising to its chest, at the very least.  If it hits more on its wings it can break a wing; it can hit so hard that it breaks ribs, punctures the crop or upper stomach area, suffer head injuries etc etc.

The birds can simply drop down, dead.  They can sometimes fly away and go to ground later, to be prey for cats and dogs if not found.

Birds hit windows because the light at certain times of the day shows them either a clear pathway through [reflecting sky] or a clear path into trees [reflecting bush or trees]. They generally won’t fly into a close area if they can see another bird already there.

I have given you suggestions of how to catch the bird, but to prevent window strikes, you can purchase a crystal transfer to affix to the window.  These cost $15 which includes postage in New Zealand and on the inside of the window, they look tasteful and will last for many years.  

The following photo is of an older ‘model’ transfer.  The present one is not so detailed so is therefore not quite as expensive.  It is inside an A4 size.

Bush Haven has these transfers for sale so contact us or send a cheque to May & Russell Evans, 49 Bryson Road, Otatara R D 9, Invercargill 9879.

Mar 192012
 

If you see or hear a small bird hitting a window it will either fall down dead or fly away and you will never find it.

If you see or hear a kereru or tui hitting a window, chances are it will either be stunned and go to ground somewhere close, or it will go to ground, dead.  Sometimes kereru manage to walk away under a bush, or fly away but they very seldom manage to stay flying for very long.

They are generally bruised, sometimes ‘just’ in the chest, sometimes in their crop or upper food chamber, which can actually burst and will need to be stitched by a vet.  Sometimes they break ribs – see gallery photo – and sometimes they receive head or wing injuries.

Immediate care is – take a light piece of material such as a tea towel and drop over the bird, pick it up and place it in a box such as a cat carrybox or similar size, lined with newspaper.   If you can’t get it straight away, check again before nightfall and you will have a good chance of picking it up in the near dark. Get the bird to Bush Haven as soon as possible. You do not need to phone Department of Conservation or SPCA first, so long as it is a kereru, tui, bellbird or kingfisher.

If you are unable to take the bird yourself and need to phone for pickup, place the bird in a warm, quiet place until pickup but DO NOT DELAY, birds seen within the first hour have a much greater chance of survival – just like humans.

It is not enough to give the bird a dish of water or some food and pop it into a corner somewhere – it needs professional care, sometimes fed by tube as a bird feeling sick or hurt will simply sit there, and not eat or drink if food is left for it.

 

Mar 192012
 

In May 2010, May and Russell with assistance from the Otatara Landcare Group presented a submission to the Invercargill City Council for the erection of 12 signs on major Otatara Streets.

The innovative proposal was featured on two National News programmes.

The couple believe the signs alert newcomers to the area to the fact that many kereru fly low across the roads to get from bush feeding areas – if speeds are kept down the birds and motorists have a chance at avoiding a collision.

The kereru are not necessarily ‘drunk’ but need to fly down to gain momentum to go up after eating – they are simply ‘top heavy’ from the amount of food consumed.

The first season after the erection of these signs there were no injuries reported from birds being hit by cars in Otatara.  Many motorists consciously slow down to 50 kmph whereas even though it is the posted speed limit, many more exceeded that speed before the signs went up. 

 However there will always be motorists who speed and in late 2011 a kereru was severely mangled by a collision with a car in Otatara which resulted in the bird having to be euthanased.  It had massive fractures of wings and no hope of living.