Hand-Rearing Introduced New Zealand Birds

A guide to hand-rearing introduced, non-native New Zealand birds. Please note that a Department of Conservation (DOC) permit is required to care for most native and/or endemic species. Please contact the South Island Wildlife Hospital for assistance if you rescue a native and/or endemic bird.

When to intervene and rescue a bird

Is the bird:

  • in a dangerous area? e.g. on the road or stuck down a drain

  • alone (for a significant period of time)?

  • cold?

  • covered with parasites?

  • tangled with foreign material?

  • injured?


You don't need to intervene when a bird:

  • is bright and alert

  • is active and mobile

  • has no evidence of trauma or distress.


Often a lone bird's parents are actually nearby and just waiting for you to leave. Parents often leave older chicks alone for short periods of time.

If older chicks/fledglings are in your backyard then keep your pets like cats and dogs indoors or in a different area for a few days until the fledglings can fly.


You can put young chicks back in their nest, their parents will not reject them, this is just a myth!

Click the link below for a visual summary:

I've found a baby bird - what do I do?

Additional resources and further help

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