Accident Prone Kereru

In Dunedin, Kereru are often highly conspicuous particularly in areas such as the Town Belt. Kereru have an extremely disconcerting habit of getting hit by cars while flying low(often fully laden) across roads or flying into windows. Over 70% of the birds we care for each year have suffered an impact injury.

Photo of Imprint of Kereru following window strike (courtesy P Kennard)

 

Depending on the severity of the impact, recovery time can be short (a period of time on the ground to get over the shock) through to a lengthy stay if the bird has broken bones such as the clavicle or punctured body parts (for example the crop). Often these more severe injuries are recoverable with treatment and enforced rest.


When a casualty initially arrives its injuries are assessed. Many factors need to be considered, of which the most important are:


Is the animal so unwell or so badly injured that is unlikely to survive and is probably in severe pain? Even if the animal is likely to survive, will it be possible to return it back to the wild when recovered?

 

This is our first and foremost thought.


We will not initiate treatment and care if it is not in the animals’ best interests. Sometimes euthanasia is the kindest option.

 

 

What should you do if you find an injured kereru?


Using a towel or blanket, carefully pick the bird up, holding the wings against its body (this will help prevent further injury) place it into a cardboard box and leave it somewhere warm, dark and quiet. A hot water cupboard is ideal.


Call the Department of Conservation for further advice.

Otago Conservancy (03) 477 0 677 or 0800 362 468