On 7 August this year, Miriam McClure of Wearmouth Street, Waitahuna, a small South Otago township, drove 175 kilometres to Invercargill to bring an injured tui to Bush Haven. The bird had a weak leg and couldn’t stand up very well but had been checked by the local vets as having no broken bones. Miriam phoned us and decided to bring the bird down as there was no-one any closer to care for it.
We kept the bird in a heated box in our hospital area for a week, with antibiotics in case of any underlying infection. After that time it went into a small cage, and very quickly into an outside aviary, where it soon started flying strongly.
As the tuis in the area at Waitahuna were feeding well on the local trees we wanted to take the rehabilitated bird back to its own area, where its song would be the same as the other birds, so arrangements were made for us [May and Russell] to take the bird back. It was fitted with a numbered, silver metal band on its left leg as we believe it was a female because of its weight and on Monday, 23rd September we made the trip.
At Waitahuna we were met by Sharon Bayne and Miriam, with other family members, who treated us to a fabulous lunch after we had helped to set the tui in a small cage in the ‘feeding tree’ on Sharon’s property. That night they took the cage inside and the next morning, put it back in the tree and at 9.30 am with the pupils of Waitahuna Primary School all watching with excitement, the tui was released back into her area.
The photos show – the tui in cage at release site, pupils of Waitahuna School, and finally tui back at feeder the next day, where she was seen for several days before disappearing to find other feeding and hopefully stay healthy.
Thanks to Miriam, Sharon and everyone concerned, a lucky tui lives for another day.