North Shore's bird lady is retiring after 35 years caring for birds brought to her by members of the community.

Sylvia Durrant said she decided it was time to take it easy at 85 years old after a few health issues. Typically, she has also timed her retirement with the life cycle of birds.

Her Rothesay Bay home, known as Bird Care, has fostered and nurtured countless birds over the past three and a half decades.

"All my birds have gone, they have been farmed out. DoC has taken my wood pigeon and Auckland Zoo has the blue penguins."


All the gear must go too, which was free to the public to come take their pick.

"Other bird rescue people can come and take equipment of their choice. Two aviaries have already been picked out."

Durrant said she would be giving away all the equipment, as it was bought with donations from people for bird rescue.

Old towels and blankets would be donated to the SPCA.

"If anything is not picked up, it will just end up going to the dump."

She said bird rescue efforts would carry on into the next generation, with young people getting involved.

"There are two bird rescues operating in Auckland city. One with a young person learning how to care for birds."

Durrant said other bird rescuers would also be visiting her to learn about her methods, "all the information I have will be passed on".

Her retirement has been timed just before spring, when baby birds would be hatching.

Durrant said people could still call up for advice on what to do and where to take birds for treatment.

Previously a nurse, Durrant started looking after birds while caring full-time for her disabled husband.

"I didn't want to be sitting around all day watching TV."

Then Durrant saw an advertisement in a newspaper from a woman in Devonport, looking for someone to feed baby birds.

A favourite memory of Durrant's was caring for an albatross which was injured after crash landing on a fishing vessel bound for Auckland in the South Pacific.

The fishing vessel contacted Durrant as they reached port. She kept the bird for a few days, nursing it back to health before the vessel took the bird as they headed back out to the ocean.

Durrant would continue to give talks about birds at local institutions during the winter, having done so for the past 30 years. This included kindergartens, schools, retirement villages, and service hubs.