A dazed ruru has been plucked from the streets of Wellington and taken to the city's zoo to recover, though vets are still in the dark about what's wrong with the native bird.

The wide-eyed morepork was found by Forest and Bird customer care co-ordinator Tania Urner, sitting on the pavement outside Lido cafe on Wellington CBD's Victoria St.

A group of people had gathered around the bird, taking photos, and Urner initially wondered why they were taking photos of a pigeon, then realised it was a ruru.

"The group were trying to find out who to contact - SPCA or DOC or Forest and Bird, then my sister told the group that I work for Forest and Bird," Urner said.

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The ruru was taken back to the Forest and Bird office after being found on the footpath. Photo / Supplied
The ruru was taken back to the Forest and Bird office after being found on the footpath. Photo / Supplied

"One of the ladies grabbed my scarf so we could gather the ruru in it, I told them I would take it to work and make contact with the necessary organisation to collect it."

Two of the conservation team took the ruru to The Nest Te Kōhanga animal hospital at Wellington Zoo, where it is being cared for.

"I was actually buzzing [that I] was able to help with this and have found out that when you find this type of bird it means good luck – so I have just gone out and bought a lotto ticket," Urner said.

The Nest Te Kōhanga's senior vet Baukje Lenting said the bird's behaviour was strange.

"Sitting out in the open on the pavement in the middle of the day and being able to have someone walk up to it and pick it up generally indicates there's something not right with it," she said.

But vets have been unable to find out what is wrong with the ruru during a physical examination, and will need to do more tests.

"Sometimes on arrival, what is wrong with the patient is immediately obvious.

"Unfortunately this is the sort of case where we haven't been able to make a diagnosis yet immediately . . . [we] can't see any broken bones, we can't see any wounds."

Tomorrow the staff will perform X-rays and blood tests to see if they can figure out what is wrong.

Lenting said the bird had been particularly quiet while in the animal hospital, which was unusual for ruru.

"Usually they're a little bit more active."

Wellington Zoo staff handle the potentially injured ruru at The Nest Te Kōhanga animal hospital. Photo / Supplied
Wellington Zoo staff handle the potentially injured ruru at The Nest Te Kōhanga animal hospital. Photo / Supplied

With Wellington's pockets of green throughout the central city, it was not too unusual to see ruru, but they were usually spotted somewhere safe and quiet, and asleep during the day.

The staff were grateful the bird was brought to them for care, Lenting said.

If the public find injured native wildlife they can bring them to The Nest Te Kōhanga. Introduced species should be taken to the SPCA.