Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre,
New Zealand

From grassroots beginnings in the 1980’s and the founding of the Wingspan Charitable Trust in 1992, Wingspan is now recognised as New Zealand’s leading conservation, education and research organisation for birds of prey.

Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre was established in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2002.

'The programme this year is marked with our 25th anniversary. At Wingspan’s core is a commitment to the conservation of the threatened ‘Kārearea’ New Zealand falcon. Being part of New Zealand’s unique natural heritage, falcons are a taonga (treasured) species to Tangata Whenua (Māori, people of the land). Our Centre is a place where people can experience birds of prey up close during interactive flying displays and also see how we are able to successfully hatch and raise chicks as part of our conservation and restoration program. This unique encounter serves as an educational experience enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Wingspan supports wild populations directly by releasing captive bred falcons and rehabilitating injured wild birds. Through research and advocacy, Wingspan also supports long-term sustainable conservation action by identifying the reasons for the decline in wild populations and promoting action to reverse this.

How Brinsea's TLCs are used in our work…

The older TLC-4 incubator and the new TLC-50s are absolutely vital as part of our captive breeding program. They provide a suitable substitute environment to successfully raise chicks for release into the wild to restore declining numbers of the endangered Kārearea or reintroduce into areas where the Kārearea population is currently extinct. As the only centre in New Zealand that specifically deals with birds of prey, every year we also receive falcon, morepork and harrier hawk chicks that have been injured or abandoned and require extra care in the TLC units until they are strong and able to self-regulate their own body temperature. We are currently expanding our captive breeding program however and we need more TLC-50 units to cope with the extra numbers without compromising our ability to take in young chicks from the wild.

Characteristics of the TLC that are important to our work…

Only an estimated 8000 Kārearea exist in the wild with less than 30% of Kārearea making it past their first year of life due to predation or deliberate harm by humans. This is reflected in their “threatened species” conservation status. Having a brooder that is temperature controlled with a power failure alarm is of utmost importance to ensure high survival rate. The large clear window and digital read out of the temperature and humidity of the TLC-50 means we are able to easily monitor the chicks and adjust the settings if need be.

Accuracy of the digital read out compared to the actual temperature inside the TLC-50 compared to the TLC-4 Octagon brooder has been more consistent which provides us with peace of mind. The shape, colour and design of the TLC-50 makes it easy to clean which is so convenient when dealing with birds of prey and faecal splashing.

Wingspan has successfully bred just over 80 falcons, many of them for release into the wild.

An organization such as ours, able to successfully raise healthy, well developed birds of prey is a testimony to the work we do and is complimented by the quality of the brooders that provide a stable, warm, clean environment that these chicks need at such a crucial stage of their life.

If you would like to make a donation to support the work we do, visit our website at

Feel free to check out Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust on Facebook '. Wingspan have received donations of TLC intensive care units from Kleenex and Kimberly-Clark Corporation .
Melissa Brown, Raptor Intern, Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand