Educational Articles

Advice about fledglings

Advice about fledglings

Need advice about fledglings, including how to recognise them, how to check for parents, what to do in the event of cat interaction, and when not to intervene?

Mallard Facts – Help Reduce Duck-nappings!

  • It is common for mallard hens to leave their ducklings to go feed (in peace 😊).
  • These ‘brood-breaks’ can last for over 2 hours.
  • It should not be assumed that ducklings encountered without a hen present have been abandoned.
  • It is rare for a hen to abandon her ducklings unless under severe duress e.g. constant predator (includes humans) harassment.
  • Unless you are certain a hen has been killed, i.e. have witnessed this occurring, please leave duckling where you found them.
  • If you observe the ducklings at a distance for 3 hours and the hen has not returned to them, then it may be reasonable to assume they have been abandoned.
  • Signs you need to get involved occur when there is a single duckling or a group in a highly agitated state, peeping loudly and unable to settle.


For more information you can also contact Fish and Game on 07 849 1666

Advice for reducing window strikes

Here is some information on how to help to prevent birds from flying into closed windows:

Window strike mainly occurs when birds think they can see a way through your house through one window and out the other or can see a significant reflection of trees or sky. It is important to break up the line of sight or reflection by closing curtains, adding nets or blinds, using bird deterrent window stickers or decorating windows with ‘Zen Wind Curtains’ linked below, or similar items.

Birds also frequently hit windows when bird feeders are placed outside the windows. This may provide the resident humans with a great view of the birds – but it puts the birds in danger of hitting the window if they are scared and fly off in a hurry.

Here are some great resources on preventing window strike:

We also love the look of this DIY option – Acopian BirdSavers or Zen Wind Curtains. This site has great instructions!

Thank you for caring and for making the world a safer place for wonderful wild birds!

Parapara, the bird catcher tree

Parapara, also known as the bird catcher tree, is native to New Zealand. It typically grows on islands and coastal areas of the North Island, and is present in Auckland. In spring-summer, parapara seeds develop a glue-like coating which is designed to help with seed dispersal. This coating remains sticky for months, and traps birds of various species. Fantails, waxeyes, grey warblers, sparrows, and thrush are frequent victims; likely attracted to bugs stuck in the seed pods. Kingfishers and ruru see these small birds as easy prey, and become entangled.

Once trapped, birds struggle to fly as their feathers are glued together. As they struggle on the ground, they become covered in leaves and dirt. They are unable to find food, and they are vulnerable to predators. To survive, they need a specialised bath at an experienced rehab centre.

In 2021 so far, we have admitted 7 ruru (morepork) trapped in parapara. Most are released within a few weeks of admission, but may need to stay for several months if they have experienced feather loss.

If you notice a parapara tree in your garden, you can help out the local bird life by trimming the seed pods each season. If you notice any birds who have become entangled, please bring them to a rehab centre as soon as possible. Don’t pull the pods off, as this can cause damage to feathers.

Thanks so much to everyone who continues to bring us these birds so we can give them a second chance!

You can view the full post here


Botulism is a natural toxin produced by a bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) commonly found in soil.

In birds, botulism presents as an ascending paralysis (meaning it starts from the legs and works its way up through the body) where the bird loses its ability to fly, swim, eat and eventually breathe. All of this while the bird is completely aware of what is happening. Most waterfowl species such as ducks, swans and coots drown as they lose their ability to hold their head up and off the water.

In Auckland, hundreds of mallards and other birds are affected every year, especially during late summer. Outbreaks in areas with high concentrations of birds such as Western Springs Park are particularly hard hit, resulting in the death of hundreds of birds every day.

How you can help

  • Don’t feed ducks and other wild birds. It’s better to encourage them to forage naturally. Bread thrown into ponds can rot and promote the growth of botulism bacteria.
  • Identify sick animals and bring them to BirdCare Aotearoa as soon as possible.
  • Help control the spread by reporting outbreaks so that dead birds can be removed from the environment.

Read the full article here.

Grounded petrels



Cook’s petrels breed on Little Barrier and Great Barrier Islands, off north-eastern North Island, and Codfish Island, near Stewart Island. The Barrier populations fledge and head west, over the Auckland region and out to the Tasman Sea where they then head northwards.

Poor weather and low cloud levels may cause fledging petrels fly lower than usual over Auckland. Attracted by the bright city lights they become grounded on roads, beaches or backyards… . Once grounded, they are unable to become airborne unless from a great height.

Some of the petrels lose their waterproofing as a result of coming into contact with diesel and petrol on the roads, or from human handling which damages their feathers.

Read how we waterproof Cook’s Petrel here