Rooney the Secretary Bird

Rooney the Secretary Bird was snatched from his nest as a chick, with the intention to be raised to adulthood and then killed for his body parts to be used in superstitious rituals. Thankfully the authorities could confiscate him before these cruel plans were brought to fruition and he now resides at the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre. Being imprinted on humans, Rooney wants nothing to do with other secretary birds and cannot be released back into the wild. If you are a sports lover Rooney’s name will quickly make sense to you when you see his powerful kicks (though he directs these to the head of a rubber-cobra rather than a football).

As a registered NGO receiving no government support, the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre relies heavily on donors, sponsors and the visiting public to fund their very important work. Their tiny staff compliment is responsible for the rehabilitation of between 80 and 200 birds of prey every year, all of them injured by or negatively impacted in another way by humans, and then releasing them back into the wild when they’ve recovered sufficiently. If you can’t visit them in person, please visit their website and, if you are able to, assist them in their efforts by making a donation (monetary or in kind).

28 thoughts on “Rooney the Secretary Bird

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Sadly dear Rooney thinks of himself as a human, having known only people from a very young age – thankfully the people he hangs out with now are much more invested in him being alive. Poor thing has no idea that he isn’t a person; he even builds nests for and courts the female staff at the centre!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Dit is waarskynlik sentrums soos hierdie een te Dullstroom se grootste werk, Petru. Hoewel die enkelinge wat hulle red reeds n verskil maak, is die bewusmaking en onderrig van die menslike bevolking soveel belangriker om te keer dat hierdie manjifieke voels uitsterf.

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  1. Aletta - nowathome

    Dries jou en Joubert se foto’s is weereens ongelooflik mooi! Ek het so 2 maande gelede die voorreg gehad om 2 van die voels in ‘n veld naby Vryheid by die bevaandam omgewing te sien!
    Hulle was ‘n bietjie te ver van die pad af om met ‘n selfoon af te neem! Ja, kan jy dit glo ek kon nie my kamera saamvat nie!! 😦

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Ai, mens kan jou eie hakskene afskop as dit gebeur, ne Aletta! Wat n voorreg om hulle in die natuur te sien – ongelukkig word sekretarisvoels al hoe skaarser en ons moet sulke geleenthede waardeer (soos jy defnitief doen).

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Seeing Rooney go about his life now, well cared for at the rehabilitation centre, it’s difficult to comprehend how people can stoop so low as to want to kill him for superstitious reasons. I hope he has no recollection of his former life.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      It is as infuriating as it is incomprehensible, Anne. Perhaps, little by little, interaction with survivors like Rooney will convince those who still hold such beliefs to change their mindset.

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  2. H.J. for avian101

    I’ve seen this bird before and is quite beautiful. The only thing that makes it weird looking, are the long legs. They are odd but deadly to snakes. Thank you, D. 🙂

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