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Source: Auckland Council

An Auckland Council story is going viral and spreading its wings… just like Titirangi’s feral chickens.

The bizarre bird yarn has attracted the attention of news publications and celebrities around the world and has put the leafy Auckland suburb well and truly on the map.

Following the COVID-19 lockdown, Waitākere Ranges Local Board Chair Greg Presland expressed concern about the return of feral chickens to the West Auckland residential area.

Last year the board had rehomed majority of the chooks because they caused a viable public health and safety issue and contributed to a rat infestation in the area.

“After the removal operation, fewer than 10 birds remained but it now appears the animals have made an unwanted comeback during the lockdown,” Greg said.

Greg said unlike the birds, the story of Titirangi’s infamous chicken takeover has “taken off”.

“There was genuine interest in how New Zealand could vanquish (at least in the meantime) COVID-19 but not beat a bunch of feral chickens living in the bush.”

Greg said he was surprised at the interest.

“I never thought that I would be interviewed by The Guardian, the BBC and by Canadian Radio – especially about local chickens.”

Following a rather creative headline in The Guardian, the story also caught the attention of author Stephen King with the legendary horror author tweeting “The chickens came out of the shadows … with a thirst for vengeance”.

Closer to home, More FM’s radio host Paul Flynn (Flynny) even devised a ditty about the pesky poultry. Stuff, NZ Herald, RNZ and Newshub also joined the flock.

Greg said there were mixed feelings about the chickens from the residents of Titirangi, with some believing they bring charm to the village, whereas others see them as a menace.

For those who are not a fan, they can rest assured knowing a monitoring programme has now been restarted with ongoing captures planned.