Thirsty chicks in Northland

By Dean Nathan

The staff at Northlands' Bird Recovery Centre have been kept busy this summer inundated with all species of native birds found suffering from heat exhaustion due to the long spell of high temperatures and drought-like conditions.

This young penguin has been rehabilitated over the hot and dry summer.

Robert Webb of the Northland Bird Recovery Centre says “Even at Christmas time there that they just couldn’t get away from the heat at all.  They're sitting in their nests and the only way the mother can keep them cool is flap here wings.  Now if she can't keep them cool she will probably chuck two of the babies out.

This kiwi chick was lucky after being found by a farmer lying lifeless in his paddock.

Webb says, “But he was lucky he was found now he was only 219 grams when he come in so he's lost a lot of weight.  He should have really been just about dead. They're so desperate for water they'll take any risk they can.”

These morepork chicks were found by children at Tangiteroria School only days before it closed for Christmas.  Robert Webb can only wonder how extensive the loss of wild birds has been over the summer.

Webb says, “You look at the ones we get in like the kukupa. We've had about eight come in but how many more must be out there that we haven’t seen yet?  And the kiwi, how many more have been out there that haven't been found at all? And that’s the best part of the whole thing is seeing something go back to freedom again.  That’s what it’s all about.”