A search of a Wellington property where groups of intricately decorated pigeons were found has turned up no evidence to suggest the residents are behind the bizarre abuse.
The pigeons were found in an open aviary in Kilbirnie decorated with tinsel, trinkets, and paint, during an investigation into the spiking number of birds dying or becoming seriously injured by such decorations.
But it appears the mystery decorator is still at large after the SPCA carried out a search warrant at the property and found no evidence that the house's occupants had harmed the birds themselves.
"The search warrant found no incriminating evidence that the occupants were responsible for capturing the birds, decorating, and releasing them," an SPCA spokesperson said in a statement.
"The owners have an open aviary with homing pigeons, and the birds found there last week have also been victim to whoever is decorating birds in the Kilbirnie area."
The seven decorated pigeons were found at the aviary shortly after the antics of the bird decorator reached news headlines. Prior to the discovery, other birds such as sparrows had been found with tinsel wrapped around them.
Many of the sparrows had died as the decorations stopped them from being able to eat or drink
Since 2015, SPCA's Wellington Centre have had 30 cases of birds arriving at the centre either dead, or with injuries so severe they have had to be euthanised.
Decorations were removed from the pigeons by SPCA's veterinary team, and they each underwent a full vet examination.
SPCA's inspectors will continue to investigate the case, and are calling on Kilbirnie residents to help.
Members of the public who see any decorated birds in the area can help by trying to take a photo of the decorated bird, as well as noting the date, time, and location they saw the bird, and calling SPCA's Wellington Centre.
If a member of the public finds a body of a bird that has been decorated, please phone the SPCA and they will arrange collection of the bird.
If anyone has any information in relation to this case, they can call SPCA's Wellington Centre on 04 389 8044.