The letterbox of a Spotswood couple is full to brimming this Christmas, but not with mail.
A group of starlings has posted a brood of baby birds to Brian Aroa and Ettie Burt who can't bring themselves to turf the nest out.
Mr Aroa has put up a sign "Starling Motel, Do Not Disturb" and has built a new letterbox so the chicks can grow in peace.
"We thought we would just let nature be."
About a month ago they cleaned some straw out of the letterbox, but when it appeared again, they decided to leave it alone.
Since then, they've been sitting at their kitchen window bird-watching.
"We spend a lot of time just watching them," Ms Burt said.
On December 8, five baby birds hatched, and three adult starlings have been lining up to feed them.
"They've been feeding them great guns, sometimes they'll have a scrap on top of the letterbox or one will come out and chase another one away," Mr Aroa said.
He said they thought it was odd the three starlings and five chicks were sharing a nest.
"Apparently starlings will lay in other starling's nests."
But a letterbox doesn't quite make the perfect home for a family of birds.
"Once a leaflet carrier made a mistake and put a brochure in the box and we had to open it really quickly to get it out or the mother birds might not have come back to feed them."
Another time, a mynah tried to get in the letterbox, but was quickly dealt to by one of the starlings.
"They had a bit of a ding dong down there on the grass."
The greedy birds have even been scoping out the new letterbox.
"We've seen them poking around it. We don't want three letterboxes."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do your pets make you feel loved?Related story: Pets help people feel loved and secure