A ruru (morepork) that was found on the front of a car that had travelled between Palmerston North and Levin is making a steady recovery at its Turakina rehab.

The bird, named Nightshade, is finding its feet at Dawne Morton's Bird Rescue Wanganui/ Manawatu.

Mrs Morton said they will test it can fly, feed itself and is waterproof before it's taken back to where its rescuers think it came from.

"It will be nice if it can find its partner again. These birds live to 20 years and keep the same mate."


The bird will be let go in some bush near Levin.

The ruru was left with a broken leg after the accident in early June and was initially cared for by the SPCA and then at Massey University vet school's Wildbase hospital.
The ruru is due to be released by DoC next Tuesday.

There are 70 birds at the Turakina now, mainly hawks and kereru.

Mrs Morton said last week's storms saw some fairy prions come into the centre and there were some deaths at Scott's Ferry and Kai Iwi reported but not in large numbers.
"We got away quite well and so did the birds."

On average 1000 birds go through the rehab centre a year. It takes natives while another at Tayforth Rd looks after non-native species.

The Turakina centre is strictly rehab. An agreement between rescue organisations in New Zealand means all birds must be seen be a vet promptly so while Turakina patches the birds up, they go to Massey for treatment.

Mrs Morton said Bird Rescue Wanganui/Manawatu provides fluids and food if needed, and pain relief and antibiotics for hurt or sick birds but further treatment is done off site. The birds then sometimes come back to recuperate.

Dawne Morton with tui recuperating at the rescue centre in Turakina. Photograph by Stuart Munro
Dawne Morton with tui recuperating at the rescue centre in Turakina. Photograph by Stuart Munro

There are 70 birds at Turakina now, mainly hawks and kereru.

One of the kereru's recuperation has amazed Dawn. While many fly into windows, this one flew straight through and survived.

"It smashed the window. It was very badly hurt but is now flying beautifully. Few birds with a broken jaw, collar bone and keel [breastbone] live."