Apr 132014

Last year we sadly lost one of our female kaka who died of lymphoma.  When we asked the Department of Conservation for a friend for her there was none available but that there might be a male available to try and breed with her.  As she had already laid infertile eggs we thought this would be a good idea and would add to the number of kaka needed to eventually release into sanctuaries, both at Orokonui and the Nelson Region.

On inspection, it was found that our kaka aviary was far too small for a pair of birds to breed in, according to new DoC guidelines, so we were pretty down in the dumps for a while as we are now on pensions and there is no spare money to build aviaries, especially of the magnitude required.

We placed an advertisement in the local paper for deer gates, thinking it would be a cheap and fast way to build an aviary extension. An enterprising reporter, Hannah McLeod, thinking of a good human interest story, phoned us and we agreed to let her run a story requesting help. Graduate Environmental Officer Sean Spencer from Edendale Fonterra phoned and suggested they have a team-building effort to build our extension.

The upshot of that is, that the Edendale Fonterra Dairy Factory Casein Department are financing and building our aviary extension.  However this has been a drawn-out process because the men doing the work ended up having to stay at work longer than anticipated for the season and the aviary is not yet completed.

The team of mainly seven men under the guidance of Paul Branks have now been here sor several days intermittently and are ready to put up the netting. They have been enjoying listening to the birds while working, and the team-building is going really well too. The men have enjoyed the sight of several kereru being released and are really surprised at the work we do with injured native birds. 

Unfortunately with the work taking longer than originally thought, we will not have our male kaka before we go on holiday so the female is still lonely, as she has been now for several months….. WATCH THIS SPACE!

Following the newspaper story, we also received several offers of assistance, and donations of money from several people, including:

 Bruce and Barbara Maher

George Bell

Glenn Brown

Edith Jones

John and Elva Barnes

Brian and Chris Rance

We also received a pipe frame from Craig Cruickshank, which had been over a boat, and Russell, along with friends Randall Milne, Dave Simpson, Dave Whelan and family Colin Evans and Peter Stuart has now converted this frame into a second aviary, for use by young kaka if the pair eventually breed, or alternatively as another kereru or large parrot aviary. This was made possible by using Rudnev panels provided by Chris Richardson. and Alliance Company, also by donations of other construction items from Archer Construction and Goldpine Timber, Fogarty Engineering and Daniel Wijkstra plus the purchase of items at discounted rates from Steel & Tube, Blacks, and Allied Materials.

We have also received several kind offers of help or equipment, which have not been taken up,  from 

Graeme Robertson

Jade McConachie 

Eric Laughton

Ross McKenzie

Ollie Halleux

Colin Miller

Rob Green

Gus Inon

Fraser Mackie

Len Diack

We still need to do some tree planting after our holiday so may yet call on you!

A BIG THANKYOU to everyone who has supported us in this endeavour.

Nov 102013

Hi everyone

There is a petition on www.change.org to sign for a ban on private fireworks purchases, etc from next year.  There are already over 18,000 signatures and you could add yours!

Every year fireworks cause untold loss of chicks both in aviaries and in the wild, also eggs when parent birds are frightened off their nests, and even injuries as birds fly frightened, in the dark, with bright, flashing lights accompanied by terrible noises.

We don’t need them near the bush particularly because of the threat of fires as well as to the birdlife. It is ironic that many people in bush areas such as Otatara feed tuis on their properties and still set off fireworks on the same property!

Guy Fawkes is yet another British custom we have taken for many years and while I like many others enjoy the spectacle of sparkling colours, this is best seen in large public displays, well away from animals and birds.

Not only birds, but most animals, domestic or farmed, are scared to a varying extent by fireworks, and we believe it is about time someone stood up for our furry and feathered friends.  Even though purchase dates have been limited we still have several nights, not just one, of the noise and sight of these in the night sky, just when the birds have settled on their nests for the night.

Please take the time to check out the website and sign the petition.


Nov 262012

Russell and May at Bush Haven urgently need to arrange new house-sitters/ sanctuary minders for a weekend in February and extended [six weeks] time from 11 May to 22nd June 2013. 

Obviously we would like someone who genuinely cares for birds and could prepare food in mornings for both parrots and birds in care, mainly kereru; also for some kereru that come regularly for food but are now flying free.  Full training will be given for this and all outside aviaries are set up with a watering system, so no carrying heavy buckets etc.  Parrots would have full seed hoppers and only occasional green food etc done as non-breeding season.

Some experience in  dealing with minor avian injuries would be really pleasing but even just a genuine interest would be a help to us providing you could visit regularly for some training prior to house-sitting.

We also have two cats and a dog to feed morning and night.  You would live rent-free with power all paid by direct debit.  Heat pumps, automatic washing machine, dvd player, broadband and landline; newspaper delivery also paid; sorry no Sky but Freeview TV, .

If you are genuinely interested please contact us at 03.2130530 or email=bush.haven@kinect.co.nz in the first instance.  References may be required.

Jul 022012

During the month of June we were pretty sure that Bubs had a chick in the nest on our property.  She came for several feeds a day – up to six some days, especially towards the end of June, and rarely flew across the road, but usually flew back down into our bush after feeding. 

On Saturday, 30 June and 1/2 July another bird flew up close when Bubs came to the door for food.  It landed in the nearby plum tree but flew down the back when Bubs did. May managed to photograph it sitting in the oak tree – it has very similar markings to Bubs and we are so thrilled to be sure it is her chick.  Obviously with food being available she decided it was worth having a late baby.  Keeps us busy though.


May 202012
Bubs and No. 19 feeding

On 27th February 2012 Nick Fleury of 90 Marama Avenue South brought a young kereru to Bush Haven.  It was on the ground and couldn’t fly, and weighed only 422 grams, so obviously a young bird.

We fed it through a tube several times a day for a few days and gradually introduced it to thicker food like pureed fruit and veges, then more solid fruit and veges, as is usual, keeping it for a full week in a cardboard cat box, then into a cage in our laundry-cum-hospital.

By 19th March it weighed 435 grams and was put into a small aviary through the day and it soon started flying back and forwards in this aviary, while still being fed.  After a few days it started eating by itself and on 16th April we banded it with a silver band and put a red jess with ’19’ written on it.  That day it went to the big pre-release aviary and weighed in at 633 grams.

No. 19 was released on Sunday, 22nd April and flew into a nearby tree where Bubs was sitting.  She didn’t immediately chase it away and in fact it started flying around with her over the next day or so.

Ever since then, No.19 has been coming for food with Bubs at some part of the day – not every time she comes as we believe she is sitting again.  Bubs doesn’t chase No.19 away but doesn’t like it feeding from her dish, so we now have two kereru being fed daily and this is quite exciting for visitors.  Randall Milne with his two children, Gabrielle and James were happy to feed the birds.  They later named No. 19 ‘Lucy’ – we’re pretty sure she is a female.

Ex-pat Kiwi, Arthur Alsop enjoyed feeding the birds also.  Arthur has been our house-sitter once while we were on holiday so has an affinity with them.