Friday 20 April 2018

Rare exotic birds missing in Dublin after aviary damaged during heavy snowfall

Rachel Farrell

Rare exotic birds are on the loose around Dublin after the roof of Marlay Park aviary fell in following heavy snowfall during Storm Emma.

Cockatiels, budgies and colourful kakariki are just some of the birds that escaped from the aviary in the south Dublin park.

Aviary keeper Desmond King manages the aviary on a voluntary basis and described the incident as a “real pity”.

“I set up the aviary about three to four years ago voluntarily. I bought the birds voluntarily at the start. I had my own aviary at home and got in touch with the council for help with setting one up in Marlay Park.

“We had a fully stocked aviary with some very exotic birds in it.

"Yesterday morning I got a call from the park ranger, the roof of the aviary had collapsed with the weight of the heavy snow on top of it. It was my first time down to the park in a couple of days because of the snow.

“We’ve lost a good few birds but I’m not sure how many exactly.”

Desmond’s wife took to Facebook to urge the public to keep an eye out for the birds, and the DSPCA shared the plea on their social media account.

“It was my wife that suggested putting it on Facebook in the hope that people might see them and catch them,” he explained.

“They’re all quite unusual looking- they’re mostly big beaked birds unlike our native birds. You would know the difference from a regular Irish bird.

“I haven’t lost any small birds besides the budgies. The rest of them are larger and distinctive, like the kakariki which is a yellow bird with a red head.

“It would be nice to get them back, they’re not used to the outdoors. Their wings will get wet and damp.”

The aviary keeper shared concerns that some of the birds would attack other birds, as they’re not used to being out in the open. He also stressed that some might not survive the cold weather the country is currently experiencing.

“I’m concerned that the magpie, the crow and seagull might try to kill. They’ve tried to kill our own birds before. The magpie in particular can be notorious.

“They’re not native Irish birds and they could survive the climate, but it will be difficult in these cold conditions at the moment,” Desmond said.

Should anyone find a rare bird outside their window, Desmond recommends enticing them with bird seed and keeping them in a small cardboard box before bringing them into the park.

People should contact the DSPCA or Marlay Park if they think they recognise any of the birds.

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