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New Zealand Raptor Trust member Ron Lindsay with Tom Thumb, a harrier hawk, or kahu, at Bluestone School. PHOTO: VIV LAURSEN

by Claire Allison

South Canterbury school children are learning more about New Zealand’s birds of prey.

The Timaru-based New Zealand Raptor Trust began visiting schools last week to raise awareness about raptors, and the trust’s work caring for them.

Trust member Ron Lindsay took kahu Tom Thumb to the school to talk to the pupils of rooms 7 and 8 about the trust, how it looks after raptors, what the birds eat, and what pupils can do if they find a sick or injured raptor.

“We can talk about hawks and that sort of thing, but when you have one sitting on your arm it’s a totally different thing.”

Tom Thumb is a female harrier hawk, or kahu, who, as a chick, was nursed back to health by the trust.

Mr Lindsay said education and advocacy was an important part of the trust’s work.

The trust was established in 2016 to care for sick, injured or orphaned raptors for rehabilitation and release back to the wild. It is developing a site to house the birds at Redruth, and is the only local bird rescue organisation to hold permits from the Department of Conservation to legally house and rehabilitate the birds, and use them for advocacy and education.