The Bird Rescue in Wanganui began in 1988 with an injured harrier. Two people attended a Raptor Association (RANZ) course to learn how to handle harrier hawks, morepork and falcon.
After approaching local vet clinics offering our services to care for injured raptors we found there was a need for all types of birds to be cared for and rehabilitated.
An informal group developed and worked away for the next 8 years rehabilitating birds. We had a good range of skills within the group including a regional recorder and bander with the Ornithological Society of New Zealand (OSNZ), a former vet nurse and bird rehabilitator trained in Australia and a former Science technician from a New Zealand Research Institute and banding officer for RANZ. Later two people from Palmerston North joined our group and began rehabilitating in the Palmerston North area
Each year the number of birds increased and in order to be able to apply to funding to help cover the growing costs in 1996 the Bird Rescue Wanganui /Manawatu Trust was established.
Our aims are to
- Rehabilitate injured or orphaned birds and release them back into the wild
- To run education programmes on the dangers to wildlife, the need to protect wildlife and their habitat
- Encourage and undertake research
- To train volunteers to rescue and care for wildlife
Initially we took injured native birds to the veterinarians in Wanganui but in 2003 we were contacted by Dr Brett Gatrell at the NZ Wildlife Health Centre at Massey University in Palmerston North (now called Wildbase) and offered specialist veterinarian care for native birds. The team at Wildbase x-ray, strap or pin the birds before they are returned to our base at Turakina for rehabilitation.
Bird Rescue Wanganui / Manawatu receives birds from New Plymouth through to Wanganui, Ohakune, Waiouru over to Dannevirke, Feilding, Palmerston North and down to Foxton. In 1988 we received around 30 birds. In 2013 we will receive close to 1000 birds.
Volunteers run an op shop selling a range of donated goods. This covers about a third of our costs. We rely on donations and grants to cover the balance.