Couple claim birds are suffering and dying at public aviary

Phil Pearson and Colleen Philip. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Phil Pearson and Colleen Philip. Photo: Geoff Sloan
A Christchurch couple believe birds are dying because a public aviary in the city is being neglected.

Colleen Philip and Phil Pearson blame the Christchurch City Council for not tending to the aviary at Woodham Park in Linwood often enough.

The husband and wife used to love visiting the aviary but say it has become infested with mice. They are concerned there is less fruit for birds to eat and greenery to give them shade than there used to be.

The couple are worried quails and other birds may have died as a result of the neglect.

However, city council head of parks Andrew Rutledge said these factors have not killed any birds in the aviary.

Woodham Park aviary. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Woodham Park aviary. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Said Mrs Philip, who works at Orana Wildlife Park: “We’re not sure exactly when, my husband thinks it was some time maybe a year ago, the standard just dropped dramatically and they [birds] were getting nothing.

"They weren’t getting any extra feed, they weren’t getting fruit and vegetables in their hanging trays.

“We’re really concerned that we’re seeing, we think, quite a high attrition rate, it’s not just the quail.

“There was a huge mouse invasion into the aviary and it stinks, it still stinks.

“There are quails on the ground with these mice scuttling all around them,” she said.

Mrs Philip says she has seen fewer canaries and finches in the aviary than in previous years.

Said Mr Pearson: “There’s a very, very basic level of care, which is almost degrading the lives of the birds in the aviary.

"They’ve got the mouse infestation, which is actually putting them [birds] under a lot of stress (and) actually putting them under threat because, of course, the stuff that the mice are bringing is really detrimental to the birds and I suspect that a lot of birds have died because of it.”

Woodham Park aviary. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Woodham Park aviary. Photo: Geoff Sloan
However, Mr Rutledge said: “No birds have died due to the mice or as a result of the food.

“We are exploring all options available to ensure the health and well-being of the birds.

“A pest control contractor has been engaged to bring the mouse population under control.

“A handful of greens are given to the birds every time they are fed.”