Asia-Pacific

Birds killed after Christmas decorations tied around their neck, wings

In some cases, the decorations prevent the bird from eating, drinking and flying. Source: SPCA

There has been an increase in sightings of "decorated" birds in Wellington over the Christmas and New Year period.

Christmas is over, but for dozens of birds in New Zealand the aftermath is still being felt. 

Thirty birds with Christmas decorations, such as tinsel or ribbon, tied around their wings and neck have been sighted in Wellington.

The decorations are preventing them from eating, drinking and flying - and in some cases, cutting off their blood circulation entirely. 

In some cases, the decorations prevent the bird from eating, drinking and flying.
In some cases, the decorations prevent the bird from eating, drinking and flying.
SPCA


Wellington's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) posted to their Facebook page on January 3, calling on the public to help solve "a case of cruelty".

"We are continuing to get reports of wild birds in the Kilbirnie area with decorative trinkets, such as tinsel or ribbons, attached to their wings or around their necks," the post read.

But it is not the first time "decorated" birds have been sighted in the area. 

Tinsel being removed by a SPCA staff member.
Tinsel being removed by a SPCA staff member.
SPCA

An SPCA spokesperson told SBS News that since 2015, 30 birds have been found dead or have had to be euthanised due to the treatment and that the number of cases increased over last year's Christmas and New Year period. 

"We received around 30 calls alone just over this period," they said.

"They were multiple sightings of a dozen birds that are still mobile and flying around the Kilbirnie area that we are unable to reach.

"Those that do survive and arrive at our centre are often in a very bad state, and are so malnourished and distressed that we have had to humanely euthanise them."

SPCA Wellington said they are now treating this as an ongoing investigation.
SPCA Wellington said they are now treating this as an ongoing investigation.
SPCA

The spokesperson said that a number of non-native birds have been sighted with the decorations, but that the majority were sparrows and pigeons.

On Wednesday, the New Zealand Herald reported that authorities believe the decorations have been intentionally tied to the birds, after a number of pigeons with similar decorations were found at a private property.

In a Facebook post, SPCA Wellington said the pigeons were found in a "distressed but healthy condition".

SPCA Wellington said they are now treating the incidents as an ongoing investigation and are urging anyone with further information or sightings to contact them. 

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