The WReNNZ Committee recently elected to award Honorary Life Membership to Rosemary Tully in recognition of the early training workshops she ran, that led to the creation of WReNNZ.
Brian Robertson WReNNZ Chair met with Rosemary to present her with the award and thank her for her invaluable contribution to rehabilitation in New Zealand.
We asked Rosemary to share the story of how she got started in bird rescue, which is below.
"In 1991 I was given a Long-tailed Cuckoo which had flown into a window. I had looked after blackbirds etc in the past but nothing native or endemic.
I called into the DOC office in Whakatane to ask if they knew about looking after this type of birds. I was told to ring Rotorua and speak to a Keith Owen. Keith asked if I had a permit…….no. So Whakatane Office fixed me up with a permit to look after birds……..and that is how I started looking after birds for the next 20 years. (the cuckoo was eventuality taken to Rotorua Fairy Springs).
I was so lucky with the people I worked with at the Department of Conservation office in Whakatane. The help I received with funding and adventures was amazing. I was able to stay on Whale Island (Motouhora) doing fire watch a few times, saw Saddlebacks released, Kakariki flying free. (later Kiwi and Tuatara were to join them). Even getting a ride in a helicopter."
In 2002 I held my first bird rescue weekend. People from around the country were invited to attend. Speakers from Massey University and one from Sydney Zoo joined the weekend. A dinner was held on the Saturday so people could mix socially.
In 2004 another Whakatane Bird Rescue Weekend was well attended and had rescue people from around New Zealand. So the years went on and another weekend held in Whakatane in 2009 was the start of the idea of WReNNZ. Since then weekends have been held around the country and many friends have been made during those conferences. Help is only a call away."
What are Rosemary's top tips for those interested in bird/wildlife rescue work:
Get a Permit
Contact your DOC office for help
Contact other rescue people to get an idea of what you are getting yourself into
Try and get sponsorship
KEEP BIRDS QUIET AND AWAY FROM PEOPLE AND PETS.