The SPCA is investigating possible pigeon poisoning in Auckland.
The bizarre scene, observed outside Vector Arena in central Auckland on Thursday morning, was attributed by residents to the birds eating a packet of chilli instant noodles.
The ordeal began after the birds began acting strangely in the early morning.
One of the drugged pigeons
Daniel Edwards, who lived nearby, found the sickly birds near a packet of opened instant noodles and spicy seasoning.
“It’s pretty sad. A lot of people hate pigeons, but they don’t annoy me,” he said.
Edwards and his friend chased away two large gulls away that had begun clawing at the incapacitated pigeons.
Daniel Edwards found a dozen sick and dying pigeons in Auckland on Thursday morning.
One pigeon was left with a wound in his side while another bird died.
A passer-by poured water on the distressed birds to help revive them from their sluggish state.
Local resident Cynthia Dickey said this was the third time in three months pigeons had been found in a similar state in the park.
In a previous incident, she said three pigeons died and the SPCA took the remaining 12 away for treatment.
Dickey said the birds were being poisoned by the human food being left scattered around the area.
The chilli seasoning would have been dangerously spicy for pigeons, she said.
“Their little mouths can’t cope with it. It would burn your tongue.”
However, SPCA Auckland chief executive Andrea Midgen said they were investigating if the birds were poisoned.
It was the second callout the SPCA had received to the area in a few months.
“In both cases the pigeons appear to be sick from the use of poison.
“The pigeons found today were particularly sick and had wounds from being attacked by seagulls.”
The birds were taken to NZ Bird Rescue where they were being cared for.
It was legal to poison pigeons in New Zealand but you must ensure the birds don’t suffer and not leave any sick birds behind, she said.
“No animal should be left to suffer like this.”
NZ Bird Rescue Trust spokeswoman Hilary Stollery said they had been alerted to more cases of bird poisoning in recent years.
Cafe owners would poison sparrows and pigeons which were seen as a nuisance, she said.
The Trust would like the practice banned.
Human food can also be toxic to birds, including dry noodles and chili, she said.
“It would expand in the poor creature’s stomach and kill them.”
Human food high in salt and chemicals was also bad for birds.
Anyone wishing to feed birds should give them bird seed, she said.
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