While the kiwi is an iconic New Zealand creature, it's quite the enigma! Being a shy, nighttime bird, it's like a secret agent of the animal world, most New Zealanders haven't had a wild encounter.

Caring for birds

A guide to hand-rearing introduced, non-native New Zealand birds.
Please note that a Department of Conservation (DOC) permit is required to care for most native and/or endemic species. Please contact the South Island Wildlife Hospital for assistance if you rescue a native and/or endemic bird.

When to intervene and rescue a bird

Is the bird:

  • in a dangerous area? e.g. on the road or stuck down a drain
  • alone (for a significant period of time)?
  • cold?
  • covered with parasites?
  • tangled with foreign material?
  • injured?

You don't need to intervene when a bird:

  • is bright and alert
  • is active and mobile
  • has no evidence of trauma or distress.

Often a lone bird's parents are actually nearby and just waiting for you to leave. Parents often leave older chicks alone for short periods of time.
If older chicks/fledglings are in your backyard then keep your pets like cats and dogs indoors or in a different area for a few days until the fledglings can fly.
You can put young chicks back in their nest, their parents will not reject them, this is just a myth!