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All birds require specialist care to look after. Ultimately a wild bird is happiest back in the wild. If the bird is injured, you should get the bird to the Native Bird Recovery Centre as soon as possible.

To handle native and endemic birds the Department of Conservation (DOC) requires the Centre to hold permits, it is illegal to hold native birds without a DOC permit.

It is best to get the bird to the Centre immediately or as soon as you are able. Please note that we are unable to collect birds due to the large numbers we get through our centre and rely on the public to drop them to us.

What do I do if I find some young birds without their Mum?

If you find some young birds, they may not be lost. Mum and Dad birds might just have left them for a while to get them some food. You should leave them alone, watch to see if the parent bird comes back to feed the chick. Help a young bird if you notice any of the following;

  • If the parents do not come back to feed the chick
  • If a nestling has fallen from the nest and you know for certain which nest it came from, try putting it back (without putting yourself at risk)
  • If you spot a fledgling on the ground watch from a distance as the parents may be close by. If you are worried about the safety of the fledgling, then put it in the middle of a thick bush as high as possible, eg. a high hedge or a clump of bamboo.
  • If after the above steps are taken and you consider the chick or fledgling to be orphaned, or likely to get taken by cats and /or dogs in the area, please bring it to the Centre.

How do I know if a bird needs rescuing?

Rescue a bird if:
If you can catch a bird in the wild then it is sick and it needs your help.

  • An injury is obvious
  • The bird is having trouble standing or flying
  • One or both of its legs are dragging
  • The beak is damaged
  • A baby or fledgling is orphaned
  • It is trapped or entangled and cannot free itself
  • It is has some oil or chemical substance on it
  • It has hit a window or been hit by a car
  • The bird is unconscious or cannot move
  • The bird has difficulty breathing – gasping for air

I have found a bird in trouble, what do I do now?

Most of the time, a bird just needs a safe quiet place. So the best thing you can do is to put the bird in a cardboard box on a towel over a warm water bottle, and place the box somewhere dark and quiet for a while. Get in touch with us to let us know what’s going on.

Don’t try to spoon-feed the bird, as this can do more harm to the bird than good.

How long do birds usually stay at the Recovery Centre?

It varies, but on average birds at the recovery centre tend to stay about two weeks. Some birds stay for a shorter period, while some stay for a much longer period — even two years! We aim to return a bird back to it’s natural habitat as soon as it is well enough.