SPCA seeks help to stop bird dresser
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.’’