Bird Rescue & Rehabilitation

Our name ‘Ngā Manu’ means ‘The Birds’ in te reo Māori and it reflects our primary focus – the conservation of New Zealand’s native birds.

Part of our work involves the treatment and rehabilitation of native birds. We are part ­of a nationwide rehabilitation network and specialise in the care of forest birds, rails and waterfowl. Kererū and tūī are the most common species brought to Ngā Manu for treatment. We care for approximately 20 to 40 of each species annually.

Kererū are commonly injured after window strikes, often suffering head and neck injuries, broken corticoid, clavicle and wing bones as well as ruptured air sacs. Tūī are often presented with head injuries sustained during territorial disputes. Nestling and fledgling tūī are often brought in when they have sustained injuries as a result of being mauled, typically by a cat.

Our aim at Ngā Manu is to release as many birds as possible back into the wild after the rehabilitation process is completed. We will not initiate treatment and care if it is not in the bird’s best interests. The bird must not be in severe pain, or be so badly injured that it is unlikely to survive in the wild on release. Sometimes the difficult decision to humanely euthanise is taken.

Ngā Manu is lucky to work with Wildbase at Massey University and with the Department of Conservation on the takahē recovery programme. We do not have these recovering takahē on display to the public, but we assist with the rehabilitation and treatment of these magnificent birds.

What to do if you find a sick or injured native bird:

If it is safe to do so, cover it in a clean towel and keep it in a warm, quiet and safe place. Phone Ngā Manu Nature Reserve (04 293 4131), the Department of Conservation or your local vet for advice.

Birds that are brought into Ngā Manu are checked by staff, or taken to Raumati Veterinary Centre for X-rays, a full check-up and diagnosis. They then begin their rehabilitation process. This involves a stepped process, usually beginning with heated confinement for a period while the birds regain their feeding and perching ability, then through to being housed in small aviaries at first where they are able to regain their mobility and wing strength while being closely monitored in a safe environment. Birds are cared for until they reach full independence and are able to be released into larger public aviaries or back into the wild.

Ngā Manu would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Dr Andrea Wilson and her team at Raumati Veterinary Centre as well as the team at Wildbase, Massey University.

We greatly appreciate any kind donations to assist us with injured bird rehabilitation.