Native night owl takes big hit, goes to Brooklands Zoo for rehab

Brooklands Zoo / NPDC

The team at Brooklands Zoo in New Plymouth have been caring for a concussed morepork. Neighbouring bird "Charlie our cockatoo" is talking in the background, not the morepork.

Rehab is proving successful for an unnamed morepork, finding its feet after sustaining a concussion. 

The morepork, believed to be a female, was found in the backyard of a central New Plymouth home in late August, Brooklands Zoo assistant curator Eve Cozzi said. 

After being treated by the New Plymouth Vet Group, the morepork was taken in by zoo staff for rehabilitation and eventual release back into the wild, Cozzi said. 

Brooklands Zoo has been asked to rehabilitate a morepork, treated by New Plymouth Vet Group for concussion.
Robert Charles/Fairfax NZ

Brooklands Zoo has been asked to rehabilitate a morepork, treated by New Plymouth Vet Group for concussion.

"It's more than likely she was hit by a car, or possibly, flew into a window or building." 

Zoo staff posted a video to their Facebook page on Friday, showing their night time monitoring of the Morepork's feeding and flight activity. 

"She's recovering really well, making definite progress," Cozzi said. 

Whilst the vets treated the initial concussion, the muddled morepork will stay at the zoo to regain muscle strength and stability, she said. 

The bird's concussion was exhibited by a tilt in its head and one eye had an irregular sized and coloured pupil, she said. 

Staff had turned the wire-fenced enclosure into a virtual forest for the nocturnal owl, which had grown accustomed to its  temporary surroundings, but was still on high alert, Cozzi said. 

It was particularly wary of its neighbours, the monkeys, which it was unlikely to have seen before, she said.

"She probably has no idea what they are."

Charlie the cockatoo, the morepork's other night time neighbour, makes a cameo appearance in the video footage with a few "Hello Charlie" calls. 

The native owl was now flying steadily and landing firmly on its talons. Cozzi anticipated it would soon be released. 

"Obviously not all the animals we get can be released back into the wild, but we're feeling really positive about her," Cozzi said. 

This is the second injured morepork Brooklands Zoo had received in just a few weeks. 

The previous morepork had been hit by a car and was found on a road in Urenui with a fractured wing.  

Staff released the bird back into the wild on August 27 and the next day received the call that another morepork needed their help. 

The rehabilitation is part of the work Brooklands Zoo does behind the scenes for the Department of Conservation (DOC). 

"We have a DOC permit which allows us to temporarily care for native birds such as morepork, kereru and tui in off-display areas while they rehabilitate." 

Cozzi stressed they only had capacity to take in birds found and treated by the New Plymouth Vet Group.  

"I think once this one goes we've got a kereru lined up for rehabilitation. It's broken its breastbone," she said. 

 - Stuff

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