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Bird gets a chopper ride
By AMY McGILLIVRAY
Lonely Sandy: Bird Rescue volunteer Corina Hooper holds a shag rescued by the Davis family. They helicoptered it back
to Auckland for care. Trent, Narelle and Ellie Davis check out his progress.
Photo: OLIVER LI
LONELY Sandy probably didn t
have long to live when he wandered
on to the road outside the Davis
family s holiday home in Port Char-
But instead of becoming roadkill
the pied shag became the first bird
to be airlifted back to the Bird Res-
cue Hospital in Green Bay.
The bird is now being cared for by
Mt Wellington-based Bird Rescue
volunteer Corina Hooper.
Titirangi residents Narelle and
Gavin Davis were on holiday with
their children Ellie, 7, and Trent,
11, at their bach at Sandy Bay, Port
Charles when they spotted the bird.
It was three weeks ago that Trent
found the bird on the road and
called his mum for help.
It was waddling up the road like
a duck. He was just really skinny
and small, Mrs Davis says.
The family took him in, rang DOC
and Bird Rescue for advice and tried
to feed him some sprats they had
The shag appears to be about two
months old and was most likely
knocked out of his nest by the
storms that battered the North
Island earlier this month.
The bird escaped that first night
despite the Davis family s attempt
to contain him.
But that was not the last of him.
He wandered back through the
gates the next morning.
The children named him Lonely
Sandy because he was found at
Sandy Bay and Ellie says he looked
The family kept him in their
lounge for the next three days in the
hope of nursing him back to health.
When Lyn MacDonald at the
Auckland Bird Rescue Hospital told
Mrs Davis that the bird would likely
die unless he was taken to a Bird
Rescue centre the family decided
they had to do something.
Mrs Davis felt the bird would not
cope with the two and a half hour
car trip to Thames or the three-hour
boat ride home so they came up
with another plan -- a helicopter.
They hired a chopper for $2000 to
take Mrs Davis, the two children
and the shag back to Albany where
they were picked up and driven to
Green Bay Bird Rescue. A make-
shift cage was used to house the
bird for the 25-minute flight.
We came home four days early
because if he was to escape again I
didn t want my kids to see him
eaten up by something.
Mrs Davis says the family are all
She used to be an SPCA foster
mum and Mr Davis is an honorary
We do love birds ... maybe if he
was a sparrow we wouldn t have
done it. He was such a cool bird it
was hard not to pat him and stuff,
Mrs Davis says.
Thanks to the Davis family the
young shag will be back to full
health in no time, Ms Hooper says.
In the wild Lonely Sandy would
still be in the nest being fed by his
parents so Ms Hooper is keeping
him separate from the rest of the
Tamaki Estuary colony for now.
He s going to be in there for a
couple of months.
Search for Bird Rescue on
Facebook to follow Lonely Sandy s
Go to www.birdrescue.
org.nz for information about the
Go to www.eastandbays
courier.co.nz to see Narelle,
Trent and Ellie Davis tell their
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