Bird lady retires after saving 140,000 birds

Morning Talk 10/07/2018
Megan Alderson, Sylvia Durrant, Mark Sainsbury, Lucy Foster.

For the past 30 years, injured and abandoned birds on Auckland’s North Shore have found their way to Sylvia Durrant’s place at Rothesay Bay. She’s known throughout the Shore as “The Bird Lady” and after all these years, she’s retiring.

Sylvia told Mark Sainsbury that it all began when she was nursing her disabled husband.

“I had to be home looking after him, so I took off feeding baby birds, as a little extra, something else to do.

“I used to sometimes tuck them underneath my husband’s jacket, and say “look after this one while I feed these others,” she told RadioLIVE.

Visitors to Sylvia’s house over the years would be greeted by Kereru, Moreporks and often little blue penguins.

“They’re all interesting," she told Mark Sainsbury.

She says birds can be difficult to help, but she’s hit upon the trick to it after all these years.

“It’s how you approach them, for a bird, it’s what he can see - you cover his head and he’s a little honey. Because he can see, he’s not afraid.”

Strand Vet Megan Alderson agrees that birds are very difficult to treat.

“They’re so different to the mammals we usually work with, cats and dogs

“I always found I had to learn fast - the main thing is the attention you have to give them.”

Sylvia says news of her retirement spread very quickly thanks to social media and after helping to save 140,000 birds over the years, the phone calls have already dried up.

“It’s not running red hot at all thanks to Facebook - no more calls.”

Listen to the full interview with Sylvia Durrant and Megan Alderson above.

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