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One for the birds

Amy Lonsdale, 10, from Lakeview School, teacher aide Kim McKinley, special needs teacher Anne Vatselias, and the Men’s Shed’s Mat Nolan in the aviary last Friday. PHOTOS/STEVE RENDLE

Roosters in aviary to be relocated

SAM TATTERSFIELD
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The aviary in Masterton’s Queen Elizabeth Park has had an injection of colour from concerned citizens worried about the plight of the feathered inhabitants.

Masterton’s Kim McKinley, a teacher aide at Lakeview School, got together with special needs teacher Anne Vatselias, some pupils and the Henley Men’s Shed to create some bright enrichment toys for the parrots in the enclosure.

McKinley lobbied Masterton District Council last year to improve the aviary, including replacing rotting nesting boxes and having bark put down.

She decided life for the parrots in the aviary would be helped by having enrichment toys and got pupils involved at the Men’s Shed.

The toys were placed in the aviary last Friday, but McKinley remains concerned about conditions, with a lot of rotting vegetation removed from the water trough.

If the council was going to have an aviary, it should be kept in better condition than it was, she said.

“If you’re going to have the aviary it needs to be in pristine condition. The welfare of the birds needs to be the priority. They need to be well looked after.”

Amy Lonsdale and teacher aide Kim McKinley put up the enrichment toys at the Queen Elizabeth Park aviary.

The toys, made with non-treated wood and food colouring, “really brightened” the aviary, but there were still issues – roosters being in the aviary and overpopulation chief among them, Vatselias said.

Both McKinley and Vatselias thought having roosters in the urban environment was a breach of the council’s bylaws.

Part eight, section 6.6 of Masterton and South Wairarapa District Councils’ Consolidated Bylaw 2012 states: “No rooster shall be kept in an urban area without the approval of an authorised officer.”

But Masterton District Council community facilities and activities manager Andrea Jackson said that in line with the council’s bylaw, officers only followed up with people keeping poultry in an urban area if concerns were raised.

She said a small population of chickens, including a couple of roosters, were brought into the aviary more than five years ago, with no complaints.

“However, this week we’re going to reassess the population and take any roosters to another location.”

Jackson said aviaries have been in Queen Elizabeth Park since the 1920s, and since then the council had been in close consultation with the community and the SPCA to ensure birds are happy and healthy.

She said the birds had daily feeding, nesting boxes, and bark mulch was regularly added, as were amusement items like wood and toys.

The council was “really grateful to receive the new additions last week”.

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