Empty aviary to be used by hospital

Dunedin Botanic Garden team leader Alan Matchett says an empty aviary in the garden, once a...
Dunedin Botanic Garden team leader Alan Matchett says an empty aviary in the garden, once a permanent home for native birds, will be used to rehabilitate small native bush birds who have been admitted to the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Dunedin's botanic garden and its wildlife hospital will come together to provide a temporary home for some of New Zealand's rarest birds.

Botanic Garden team leader Alan Matchett said an application to temporarily house small native ``bush birds'' until they were able to be released back into the wild had been sent to the Department of Conservation.

Birds taken to the wildlife hospital for surgery, or those with an injury, would be taken to the aviary for rehabilitation and then released, Mr Matchett said.

One of the empty aviaries in the garden, originally built to house native birds before it was restricted, would be used, he said.

There would be no extra cost to the garden or the Dunedin City Council, as it would be funded by supporters of the wildlife hospital.

As the aviary was open to the public, people would be able to view the birds, if they were not hiding.

``People will be able to see them, but that depends on whether the birds want to be seen.''

Several native bird species were already kept in the garden, including kea, kaka and kakariki.

Dunedin Wildlife Hospital co-chairman Andy Cunningham said sending the injured birds to the gardens instead of outside of the city made the rehabilitation process much easier.

The hospital was now close to having a complete rehabilitation network, Mr Cunningham said.

Wildlife hospital supporters Action Engineering and Seaview Cottage Construction would upgrade the aviary for free, he said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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