SPCA Auckland BirdWing is a group of specialist volunteers who care for orphaned, sick, and injured birds. Birds brought into the SPCA Auckland Animal Village are given first aid treatment and then taken to a BirdWing centre. Here they are looked after until they can be rehomed or are ready to be released back into the wild.
Injured Birds – what to do
- Do not endanger yourself or the bird
- Take care when handling large birds – watch for beaks and claws
- Don't ‘bird-nap’ – make sure that the bird really needs help.
Rescue a bird if:
- It has blood on it.
- It has an open wound.
- It has a broken bone.
- It cannot stand on its own.
- One of its legs is hanging uselessly.
- It cannot fly (but it is not a nestling or fledgling being coached by nearby parents).
- Its beak is damaged.
- It has oil on its feathers.
- It is caught in a trap, fishing line, or string.
- It has been caught by a cat even if it seems fine.
- It is unconscious.
- It is having difficulty breathing.
Bird rescue method:
- Once you have assessed the situation and you have decided that there is a need to rescue the bird, do so quickly and quietly.
- Throw a towel or lightweight blanket over the bird.
- Place the bird in a box and cover the top. The darkness will calm it.
- Keep it warm. Fill a hot water bottle or other container with warm water, wrap it in a towel, and place it under the bird.
- Contact your nearest BirdWing Centre or Auckland SPCA.
Fledglings – what to do
In the late Spring and early Summer many baby birds, known as fledglings, make early attempts to fly that may result in them being separated from their nest and their mother. Here are three simple methods of helping these vulnerable young birds:
- Fledgling rescue method 1:
- Try to locate the nest and place the youngster back in.
- If the nest has fallen out of the tree, wedge it securely back into place.
- Fledgling rescue method 2:
- Place the young bird on top of a thick hedge. This will be hard for cats to climb up onto and also gives a good platform from which to eventually take off.
- The youngster will call out for its parents and should be fed by them until it's time to take that first major flight, hopefully within a week or so.
- Fledgling rescue method 3:
- Cut an ice cream or milk container in half and discard the top part.
Punch small holes in the bottom (for drainage) and holes in the side (small enough to feed string, thread, or wire through) and hang it from either a tree branch or clothesline. (The clothesline is preferable, as cats have difficulty climbing up clothesline poles.)
- Put bark shavings, leaves, etc, in the bottom of the container.
- The bird should call out and be fed by the parents until it gets its full flying wings and is ready to leave.
Ensure that there is as little human handling of the fledgling as possible. It is always better for the young to be raised by their natural parents rather than by a human carer. Whatever action you take remember to keep a watchful eye open from a distance in the hope that the mother or father will return to be reunited with their young.
If you find a bird in need of care, please contact your nearest BirdWing Volunteer Centre:
13 Montgomerey Avenue, Rothesay Bay
Phone: 09 478 8819
Robyn’s Nest, 61 Pioneer Road, Pokeno
Phone: 09 233 6681
Mob: 0276 862 905
If you are unable to transport the bird, please contact us on 09 256 7300.
Download BirdWing brochure
In 1971 the Wildlife Service endorsed the work of the Tamaki Bird Rescue Centre, situated close to the Cormorant colony in the outlet to the Panmure Basin, where many sea birds were suffering from water pollution and harmful human activities.
Auckland Bird Rescue Inc. was established in 1984 by a group of interested people who realised the need for a co-ordinated service. The organisation did some sterling work, but eventually closed down due to a lack of funds.
Those who continued their volunteer service are now under the umbrella of SPCA Auckland and are known as SPCA Auckland BirdWing. SPCA Auckland continues to provide ongoing support to their activities.
BirdWing volunteers also provide advice on caring for birds, and are part of SPCA Auckland’s education programmes for schools and community groups.
BirdWing is a voice for the birds in environmental issues, including continuing campaigns against pollution, set nets, jet skis, displacement from habitat, and the Parapara Tree (more commonly known as the Bird Catching Tree).
SPCA BirdWing is supported by Biosuppliers