Birds and Dogs Don’t Mix

That must mean it completely ignores them, because that what bird aversion teaches. If not, you need to take your dog back for more bird aversion training because it hasn’t worked. If your dog is allowed to play with or harass chickens, it’s unlikely to behave differently with other birds. 

A Dog Lying on the Grass

I can’t think of any of our native birds that behave like chickens, but they do behave differently and are vulnerable to dog attack. 

Young kākā are unable to fly when they first leave the nest, spending time on the ground, making their way around by climbing and fluttering between trees until their flight muscles have developed. 

Pāteke scuttle through the undergrowth freezing when threatened or if they have ducklings, the female will try to attack the dog. Guess who wins. 

Black, grey faced and cooks petrels all breed on the island. They are designed for life at sea, have short legs, webbed feet and long narrow wings which means they can’t run away or fly off if confronted with a threat. They need to wander through the bush until finding the sea on a high spot to take off. 

Penguins are to totally in their element at sea but once again, short legs, webbed feet and an inability to fly mean they are an easy target for dogs. 

Shore nesting birds will abandon their nest or eggs get damaged if dogs are allowed in their nesting area, and chicks are easily caught because dogs sniff them out. 

Any bird that hits a window, is often too stunned to fly off, needing time for their head to stop spinning and deal with the injury. 

Dogs are predators, birds are prey. Any interaction between them and a bird is stressful. It stops them eating, looking after chicks and resting. 

No wild bird wants to interact with a dog, but they do have to live together on this island. 

Keep an eye out in subsequent issues for dates of Auckland Council or DOC Free Bird Aversion training

Information and words by Karen Walker, local bird expert and rescuer