More decorated birds found 'distressed' at Wellington address

More birds have been found in Wellington inhumanely decorated with festive tinsel. 

Discovered at an address in the city's Kilbirnie area, seven pigeons were brought into the hospital of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA) where they were cared for. 

Ros Alsford, general manager for the central region of the SPCA, said on Wednesday an address was identified with an aviary out back where it was reported birds had been decorated with festive tinsel and ribbons. 

It comes after about a dozen birds were found "decorated" with festive tinsel in the area over the festive season leaving some of them in a critical condition. The latest finding brings that number to around 19. 

Describing the condition of the pigeons found on Wednesday, Ms Alsford said one had bright-red tinsel wrapped across its chest and under its wing in a "harness fashion". 

Another bird, she said, had a pink ribbon attached to it in a similar way. 

"Our inspectors attended the address and took seven birds out of the aviary that were decorated with Christmas tinsel and ribbons," she said. 

"There were only seven pigeons and they were all decorated."

SPCA vets conducted a "thorough check" before releasing the pigeons back into the wild.
SPCA vets conducted a "thorough check" before releasing the pigeons back into the wild. Photo credit: SPCA / Supplied
The finding was "absolutely bizarre", says Ros Alsford, general manager for the central region of the SPCA.
The finding was "absolutely bizarre", says Ros Alsford, general manager for the central region of the SPCA. Photo credit: SPCA / Supplied

Ms Alsford couldn't comment on the person whose home it was because it's an ongoing investigation. 

"We would love to think that we're going to get to the bottom of this fairly soon," she said. 

"The pigeons are now absolutely fine apart from them being quite distressed from coming into our centre."

She said SPCA vets conducted a "thorough check" before releasing the pigeons back into the wild after removing all the decorations from them. 

Ms Alsford said the finding was "absolutely bizarre", but similar sightings of birds decorated with festive tinsel and ribbons go back to 2017. 

"Our first reporting was back in 2017 in the same area so it has been going on for a number of years. We tried to identify where they were coming from and we were getting calls of people seeing these birds decorated."

In some incidents birds have been found deceased, SPCA spokesperson Jessie Gilchrist told Newshub on Tuesday. She said the birds are often "unable to move naturally with these decorations" which prevent them from flying, eating and drinking.

"We are now treating this as an ongoing investigation," the organisation said on Facebook.  

The SPCA has only received calls about decorated birds during the summer season, and Ms Alsford said they speculate it happens when fledglings are on the ground. 

Birds are most vulnerable during the fledgling season. You may notice them taking their first steps out of the nest and towards independence. 

"We have linked it with fledgling season when the fledglings are on the ground," Ms Alsford said. 

"Over this Christmas period it seems to have elevated again and we have had numerous sightings and numerous calls for these birds.

"It's causing the animals a lot of distress and discomfort."

Newshub.

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