SPCA seeks help to stop bird dresser

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Dozens of birds have died af­ter be­ing dec­o­rated with tin­sel and other Christ­mas para­pher­na­lia.

The So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (SPCA) is call­ing on the pub­lic to help solve the act of ‘‘cru­elty’’ that has been par­tic­u­larly bad in the Welling­ton sub­urb of Kil­birnie.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic have re­ported sight­ings of non-na­tive birds with tin­sel wrapped around their bod­ies, as well as items such as An­zac pop­pies and rib­bons.

Some of the birds have also had strips of me­tal rib­bon wrapped around their legs.

The in­ci­dents be­gan in 2017 but in­creased last year, in par­tic­u­lar in the Christ­mas-new Year pe­riod.

SPCA Cen­tral Re­gion gen­eral man­ager Ros Als­ford said the an­i­mals brought into the Welling­ton SPCA branch were ei­ther at the point of star­va­tion, or dead.

The wild birds spot­ted wear­ing the trin­kets be­came se­verely stressed and fur­ther en­tan­gled in the items as they tried to pry them off their bod­ies with their beaks, she said.

Un­for­tu­nately, those that had sur­vived were in such a poor state that they were eu­thanised.

The in­ci­dences had been iso­lated to the cap­i­tal, but had be­come so fre­quent it had forced a pub­lic call-out by the SPCA.

‘‘It’s got to a point that we’ve had to do some­thing. We’ve seen so many come in over the last cou­ple of weeks so we’re try­ing to get to the bot­tom of this un­usual be­hav­iour and try­ing to find the per­son re­spon- sible,’’ Als­ford said.

‘‘It’s cer­tainly a num­ber that is mak­ing us sit up and go, ‘What’s go­ing on?’.’’

While the birds brought to the SPCA’S at­ten­tion were non­na­tives, Als­ford said that did not mean na­tives weren’t be­ing tar­geted. ‘‘The last one, the bird was se­verely un­der­weight due to star­va­tion. The tin­sel was wrapped so tight it cut the cir­cu­la­tion off around its wing,’’ she said. ‘‘Nat­u­rally we want some help to iden­tify the per­son do­ing this so we can ed­u­cate, get to the bot­tom of this and pre­vent fur­ther dis­tress and suf­fer­ing.’’

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