A lot of young birds are leaving their nests now - here are some tips for what to do if you find a young bird. Please keep in mind that sometimes a bird will be fine and doesn't actually need help! But sometimes you may find a bird that needs urgent help.
1. CHECK IF THE BIRD NEEDS HELP: If it's got feathers, don't try to rescue it - it's a fledgling and its parents will probably be nearby. Watch from a distance to make sure a parent is close and there are no predators in the area. If there are predators, put the bird high up in a tree or tall shrub and shoo the predator away if you can.
2. A YOUNG BIRD NEEDS HELP IF:
-- It has no feathers - put it back in its nest if possible. If you can't put it back in its nest, it needs help ASAP as it will die from exposure otherwise.
-- It has feathers but there's no sign of parents nearby after you've watched it for some time. It will be too young to find its own food yet so it needs help.
IF YOU RESCUE A BIRD
The #1 advice for rescued birds is to keep them warm. Birds feel the cold a lot more than people do - a mild day for humans can be freezing for birds.
--- Put the bird in a shoe box or similar, with an old t-shirt/soft cloth that's loosely bunched up so it can burrow inside and 'nest' (avoid towels or anything its claws may get tangled with).
--- Fill a hot water bottle or a soft drink bottle with hot water from the hot water tap - NOT boiling, but as hot as possible from the tap. Put it outside the box and rest it against one edge of the box. This acts like a little heater and the bird inside the box can get as close as it wants to the warmth.
Get it to a rescue centre as soon as possible - this site has good information and lists bird rescue centres: www.birdrescue.org.nz...
This chart is a helpful guide for people finding young birds: birdrescue.org.nz...
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Check out this story by Mina Kerr-Lazenby about New Zealand's first dogs to be trained to sniff out kauri dieback: