Scott and Tracey Bowman, from Oxford in North Canterbury, started a bird rescue six years ago but life changed remarkably for the pair after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) last year.
Scott set up the sanctuary in 2016 after he hit a bird on the road. He say’s it’s not a job for the couple, rather they enjoy it. But he admits it got a bit “out of hand” after his diagnoses.
Now most of the aviaries are empty - the pair let the birds go after his health deteriorated.
Scott started feeling “off” and was diagnosed on 1 April last year.
“Worst April Fool’s Joke I’ve ever been a part of,” he says.
“After a few weeks of crying and crying and crying,” Tracy says, the pair decided to give their birds away.
Scott says it was very hard doing the last bird release.
But after six months, the couple decided to start the bird rescue again.
“It was the best decision we made,” Scott says.
It’s different this time, Tracey has to fetch the owls while dodging spiders – while Scott watches.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” he says, but he still gets the same enjoyment out of watching their release - once the owls are fixed and are a healthy weight.
He knows MND is incurable but is determined to spend his time doing what he loves.
“You’ve just got to roll with the punches,” he says.