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November 21, 2014

It’s that time of year: we now have four young herons in our care. Each year adult herons lay 2 eggs in nests high up in tall trees. One chick is dominant, and claims more of the food each time the parents feed them. That chick gets larger and stronger, while the other grows more slowly and can become weak. When it’s time to fledge, the parents go to a nearby tree to call, and encourage their young to fly. When they launch, the stronger juvenile flies, but the weaker one sometimes plummets to the ground. People discover them laying at the base of trees, and bring them to us. Also, we’ve had strong winds, so some babies are blown from the nest before they’re ready to fly. If they haven’t been punctured by branches on the way down, we can almost always save them. I’ll tell you more about how we have to teach them to hunt, but in the meantime you may be wondering: Why on earth did we name the first two to arrive Lindy-Loo and Kirsty-Hugh? Those stories follow…



Lindy-Loo is named after Lynda Stanley. She visited recently to adopt 3 rescued hens from us. Then she brought her husband Shane up to repair a chicken coop that was falling apart. Next she decided to also adopt BB (Big Butt), a special needs hen from a previous rescue that has ascites (hugely swollen bottom). Since Linda was a vet nurse she knew she could give BB the loving home she needed. With all that, we decided to name the first heron after her. Thanks Lynda!!

art exhibit


And finally: why Kirsty-Hugh?!? Well, artists Kirsty Mackenzie and Hugh Major are planning a wonderful exhibition of their work at Matakana Country Park from 12 December – 16 January. They surprised us by telling us that they want to support The Animal Sanctuary, and are planning to donate a significant percentage of every sale to the animals charitable trust. !!!! You could have knocked us over with a heron feather! We’re so touched by their generosity, and very grateful. Obviously, we hope it’s a huge success! One of the baby herons had arrived that morning, and couldn’t even stand yet. We thought it would be fun to name her after Kirsty and Hugh… .hence Kirsty-Hugh and Lindy-Loo. (I’ll remind you about the exhibition again closer to the time. If you want to attend the launch, it’s on 12 Dec from 5-7pm, and then on until 16 January. See you there!)


Millie And Shawn On Good Morning TV Show

November 18, 2014

We were invited to appear on the Good Morning show on TV1 yesterday to talk about our wonderful new book. They said we could bring an animal with us. Of course, all the big guys wanted to come (Sparky, the donkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, horse etc) but transport was too difficult. The birds wanted to be on TV, but we were afraid they’d fly around the set. The rescued hens were keen to become stars of the small screen, but the poop risk was too high. Benji has been on TV several times already and was happy to let someone else have the chance. So we took our new baby, Millie, to make her television debut. She was very nervous, and licked obsessively throughout the whole interview (the first time she’s done that), but still scored high on the ‘awww’ factor! If you’d like to see the TV clip, you can click on this link:



November 14, 2014

I’ve had an astonishing number of calls from people who have discovered baby birds that have fallen from the nest this past week. We wonder if it’s somehow connected to the fireworks. One lovely lady named Lisa called early in the morning, desperate for info on how to save a wee thrush she’d found (named Eugene!) I advised that if the mother was still around, it was best to pop the baby back in the nest so it could be raised naturally. Many species WILL take a baby back after it’s been handled. But this nest was so high up that it would take a fire truck to reach it, so we discussed creating a nest lower down. For the result, see the next story, Part 2:



Email update from Lisa: “Thank you SO much for your advice about my nestling this morning. I took him outside and popped him under a tree – Mum came back and continued to attend to him for 20 minutes. She left, so I then made the wicker basket nest and hung it by a sheltered tree while she watched. Back she came, fluttered around the basket back and forth for 10 minutes, and then lo and behold, perched on the edge. Yay! She’s been feeding him ever since. Thank you, wonderful wise woman!”
LOL, I don’t know about the wise part, but I do love a happy ending!

lawn party


November 13, 2014

Well, you think you have your day’s activities all scheduled… and then suddenly the animals have other ideas! Yesterday my best laid plans were thrown out the window when we discovered someone (yes M, I know who you are!) didn’t properly close a gate and some of the larger animals decided to have a spontaneous lawn party in the front yard. After herding them back into their home paddock, Nikolas, Malika and I each took off in a panic, heading to different corners of the property, anxious to find the rest of the animals. The pooh trail showed that Sparky had also gone AWOL into off-limit areas, but then sensibly put himself back before he got into trouble. Smart steer! What a relief as each of the animals was discovered, safe and sound. Now I know how those mothers feel when they turn around in the supermarket and realise their child has dashed off. Whew! I was happy to finally tuck everyone up for “bed” last night, knowing they were all happy and accounted for.

kereru cal


November 12, 2014

Pauanesia (that fabulous store at 35 High Street in Auckland) has created a stunning NZ art calendar for 2015. Each month features a contemporary painting of NZ wildlife by artist Holly Roach. Pauanesia have generously gifted us 80 of these beautiful calendars to sell for fundraising for the animal sanctuary. The calendars make great Christmas presents, and are the perfect NZ gift for posting overseas to friends and family (flat, light and uniquely NZ). What we would really appreciate is if just a few of you (in Auckland) would take 5 or 10 of these gorgeous calendars to sell to friends, family, and colleagues at work. Our longtime Sanctuary Supporter Natascha took 10 to work the other day, and has already asked for 10 more! They sold easily. I can bring the calendars to Auckland this Tuesday, and you can pick up from Grafton, Takapuna, Onehunga or Mt Eden. Please email me at if you can help. This photo is one of my favourite pieces in the calendar. My camera washed it out a bit, but it gives you a good idea. Each month is different and equally beautiful. Thanks so much to Heather and her team for donating these to support our animal sanctuary, and thanks in advance to a few of you who might be willing to sell them on the animals behalf!!