New Zealand's Boozed Up Birds Need Help
Pigeons drunk on fermented fruit are falling from trees and need help getting home.
New Zealanders have been urged to look out for drunk birds who "may need assistance" after falling out of trees. Local wildlife experts say when the country's native wood pigeons, the "keruru," gorge themselves on too much fruit, they sit in the sun for long periods to digest. If the fruit is ripe and the weather warm enough, the fruit can ferment in their stomachs and turn into booze. "It's cheap way of getting drunk isn't it," says kereru expert Ann Graeme. But Robert Webb, manager of The Native Bird Recovery Centre in Whangarei, says the situation is no laughing matter. By falling from their perches, kereru can hurt themselves, get lost, or get eaten by cats and dogs. "They don't have a feed, fly away and get drunk, they go to (their equivalent of) the local pub, and get on the booze till they can't walk any more," he says. As this has been an exceptionally bountiful fruit season, Webb says the birds may be hitting the sauce much harder than usual this year. He asks those who encounter intoxicated pigeons to offer their assistance and "contact authorities."