New Zealand animal rescuers are investigating dozens of birds – some dead, some still alive – "decorated" with Christmas decorations.
Sparrows and pigeons were discovered by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) inspectors with "baubles" tied around their necks and wings. New Zealand Herald reported Wednesday.
Seven pigeons with garlands and party favors were found Tuesday at a property in Kilbirnie, a suburb of Wellington. Sparrows decorated with similar ornaments have recently been found in the area, starving to death, their decor preventing them from eating or drinking, according to the newspaper.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW
The pigeons, which according to Ros Alsford, head of the SPCA, were in "good health", were transported to a veterinary hospital and were stripped of the decor. Alsford said that while the property remains under investigation, the birds were brought back because they were nipping eggs.
"A lot [of the birds] to extract foreign bodies from their bodies with their beaks and feet, thus becoming more entangled and preventing them from eating, drinking and stealing, "said SPCA spokesperson Paige Janssen, BBC of the situation. "With others, the decorations are so tightly wrapped that they completely cut off their blood circulation.
"Those who survive and arrive at our center are still in a very bad state and are so malnourished and afflicted that we had to euthanize them humanely," Janssen said.
The pictures of the pigeons seem to show birds adorned with festive Christmas colors and ornaments. Alsford said that the birds were not only decorated but "were in fact painted the same color as the trinkets".
"A pigeon had bright red Christmas garlands wrapped around its wings, then the top of his head was painted red and his wings were painted red paint," he told the Herald. "It's not just a random person who wraps these baubles around these birds because the baubles are very narrow and carefully planned."
The SPCA said the birds discovered were part of a recent outbreak, but similar incidents have already been reported since 2015. The investigators said there were "still many birds still decorated." "and urged all those who spotted them to report them to the animal protection group.