Fostering is the raising of young birds at your own home until they are old enough to be released, or returned to the Centre to be then placed into an aviary until ready for release. For many people it is a chance to make a real difference in the life of a bird.
Fostering birds for NZ Bird Rescue falls into two categories:
- Rearing of ducklings or other water fowl.
- Feeding/rearing of non-native baby birds until they are ready for release
Rearing ducklings or other non-native waterfowl at home requires a:
- Good sized and secure back yard (fenced).
- Shelter for the ducklings from the weather/heat (such as a dog kennel, lean to against a fence/side of the house etc.
- Food and food dishes for the birds (ducklings can be reared on chicken pellets from the supermarket).
- A large water dish (ducks drink a lot of water/bathe etc).
- Your family members (children, cats, dogs etc.) must be bird friendly.
Ducklings require their food and water to be refilled at least twice a day, and/or when needed.
Normally ducklings put out for fostering will mature to an age suitable for release within 4-6 weeks.
At certain times of the year NZ Bird Rescue centres become inundated with baby birds.
- Feral Pigeons
- Song Thrushes
Note: All native birds (such as Silvereye and Tui) must be cared for by Bird Rescue centers, and are not available for fostering.
Baby birds grow very quickly and require a lot of sustenance throughout the day as well as a source of heat to keep them warm. A baby bird will consume it’s own weight in food every day!
- Cardboard box with a lace curtain over the top (to allow for adequate ventilation, but preventing the bird from escaping).
- Tissues and paper towels to line and re-line the box with.
- A constant heat source – preferably a heat-pad or a lamp can also suffice (40 watt lightbulb).
- Food (kitten food from your supermarket suffice).
- Small tweezers/eye droppers for administering food.
- As the birds fledge, a source of water is also important.
- The ability to feed the bird/s once an hour during the day for 12 hours (starting from 6am-8am through to 6pm-8pm).
Because of feeding demands, fostering baby birds is normally only suitable to someone who is at home all the time (such as stay-at-home parents or those who work from home) – but if you do need to leave the house for an extended period, you can always take the birds with you – but you must also take a heat source with you to provide the necessary warmth for the baby birds.
If your backyard / local area is suitable for releasing birds, you can opt to release them into your local area, or they can be returned back to the Green Bay Centre where they will be kept in aviary for a week or so before being released.
Birds put up for fostering are wild animals and must be treated as such by anyone looking to foster them. NZ Bird Rescue’s aim is to rehabilitate birds and then to release them back into their natural environment.
Outside of feeding time the birds should not be interacted with as this will result in the birds becoming tame. Additionally, a baby bird does not have the natural insulation of an adult bird, and so if removed from heat for more than a couple of minutes it’s core body temperature will begin to drop rapidly, and the bird will likely die.
If fostered birds become sick, or injured (dropped, attacked by a cat, not eating etc.) – then please contact the Centre immediately for advice.
If you would like more information on participating in NZ Bird Rescue’s fostering program please contact email@example.com
Note: We reserve the right to refuse to foster birds with people who do not meet the above criteria, or do not have a suitable environment for the birds.