Forest and Bird 'Old Blue Award' winner Nik Hurring feeds Bill at her kereru rehabilitation aviary in Green Island. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
The sky above Dunedin is alive with kererū (native wood
pigeons) thanks in no small way to conservationist Nik
Mrs Hurring has been nursing injured kererū back to health
for 20 years and her passion was honoured with an Old Blue
Award from Forest and Bird New Zealand last week.
Accident-prone kererū from all over the South Island find
their way to her special nursing aviary at Green Island where
they are given daily care and time to recover before being
released. The birds often come to grief after mistakenly
flying into house or car windows.
At the moment she has four birds in care - a young bird that
fell out of its nest in a storm in May, a shy pigeon that
crashed, a grumpy one in isolation for being a bully and
''Bill'' from Wellington.
Bill has been sent down from Wellington Zoo to ''find out
what it is like to be wild pigeon'' - the wild birds do not
usually get names.
''He was really little when he was first brought in [to the
zoo] and has become very imprinted on people.
''He was born in the wild and the best thing for him is to go
free again rather than spend his life as an advocacy bird.''
She said she was ''stunned'' to be given the Old Blue Award
given the number of projects that were going on in
She was awarded the prize at the society's annual meeting on
Her success rate with birds is good, with many of the 60-80
birds that come through her care each year surviving to be
She said hundreds of the birds had been released back into
the wild. Some had even returned to her care after a second
mishap - recognisable by the distinctive metal tag they
The Dunedin branch of Forest and Bird supports Mrs Hurring's
kereru clinic with its running costs, using funds from the Dr
Marjorie Barclay Trust.
- by Dan Hutchinson