Saddlebacks fly the fence

The saddlebacks introduced to Shakespear Open Sanctuary just two months ago have quickly made themselves at home, with some already venturing beyond the pest free fence.

The birds come from Tiritiri Matangi Island sanctuary and SOSSI chair Peter Jackson says they are not used to restrictions on where they can live safe from predators such as cats.

Saddlebacks spend a lot of time looking for food on the ground, which makes them very vulnerable to predators.

They look like a small blackbird with a bright orange back and a red wattle (fleshy bits hanging below the throat). They flit through trees with a lot of jumping and not much flying.

If you see one outside the sanctuary, please phone the Northern Regional Parks Office, 09 426 1200 or email with your location and contact details.