Dead bird checks lead to park health warning

The dying dove mystery at a Pakuranga reserve has been solved.

Hundreds of malay doves have been found dead on Tiraumea Reserve where there were suspicions of poisoning because of an on-going feud between neighbours over excessive bird feeding.

It has now been confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that the doves are dying because of an infection called chalmydophila psittaci (psittacosis), says Manukau Parks heritage manager Biran Singh.

Manukau City Council is warning visitors to Tiraumea Reserve of a potential health hazard and people are advised not to handle dead or dying birds. They should avoid bird droppings and not feed the birds.

"There is a low risk that the infection may be caught by people through close contact with bird droppings or sick birds.

But infants, the elderly and those already sick are at greater risk," says Mr Singh.

"We are advising people to wash their hands and footwear thoroughly after visiting the reserve. If they develop flu-like symptoms and a cough, they should see their doctor immediately and mention their contact with birds dying from psittacosis."

The council is installing signs in the reserve with a health alert and local residents are being informed. The council is also taking steps to clean the reserve by removing dead birds.

Call Manukau City Council on 262-5104 to seek urgent removal of dead birds.

Eastern Courier