09 438 1457

No food or water for drunk pigeons

Media Release

18 May 2020

A steep rise in the number of drunk wood pigeons (keruru) turning up at the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre has led manager Robert Webb to issue a warning – don’t offer the drunks anything to eat or drink.

With native autumn forest fruits coming to an end, Webb says the wood pigeons start to come into residential areas to feed on guava berries.

“They absolutely adore them and scoff them down as fast as they can. The problem is the berries sit in the bird’s crop where they ferment and turn into alcohol – the birds get bombed out of their brains and then fly into windows and cars, or simply fall out of trees.”

The Centre currently has about 10 wood pigeons recovering from their drunken escapades and Webb says they’ve had about 25 come through in the last three weeks.

“We usually get around 80 wood pigeons this time of year – we’re well into the drunken season.”

With the number of drunks on the rise, Robert has firm advice for anyone finding a drunken wood pigeon.

“The main thing is to not give them water or anything to eat. Most people think water is the best way to sober them up, but usually the bird is so stressed it spills the water, gets wet and then almost always catches pneumonia. 

“Even though they may appear hungry and want to eat, this is often a reflex action caused by stress and is actually dangerous as they can get sick and then choke.”

Webb advises that instead the wood pigeon should be put in a box with something soft to protect them and kept in a warm, quiet place before being taken to the Bird Centre.

Just give us a call or leave the bird at our front door. We’ll take them to our rehab unit and get them sobered up before releasing the bird somewhere safe.”

The Bird Centre can be contacted on 09-438 1457 or info@nbr.org.nz.


For further information, contact:

Robert Webb 027 675 0564


William Malpass 021 935 217