Takahē match-making at Burwood

Department of Conservation —  20/08/2015

By Anja Kohler, Visitor Centre Ranger in Fiordland.

“She loves me, she loves me not…”

Last week I was lucky enough to go on a trip to help out during feeding time at the Burwood takahē rearing unit.

Takahē hiding in the grass at Burwood.

Takahē spotted at Burwood

To my surprise I also managed to get involved in the romantic lives of the local takahē by taking part in the re-pairing of some of the breeding birds.

With a bit of cornering and tackling involved, we managed to catch three pairs that day, which were then re-paired with different birds.

Catching takahē.

Catching takahē

We released each new breeding pair into two separate catching pens, where we could observe if they were getting along.

Placing a caught takahē in a transportation box.

Playing match-maker

If there’s no romantic spark, and the reaction is negative, the takahē would be reshuffled and placed with another partner. Apparently that hardly ever happens, probably due to Ranger Martin Genet’s excellent match-making skills.

Releasing a takahē.

Releasing a takahē

Once we had finished re-pairing our takahē couples we moved them to their new temporary location and set out to feed the roughly 85 birds that call the facility home.

Feeding time also involved collecting poo samples, cleaning the food stations and transportation boxes, and refilling the food containers.

Placing food out for the takahē.

Feeding time!

All the re-paired birds in their pens seemed to be happy with their new partner by the end of the day, so they were released into a larger pen close by.

Takahē eating.

Hungry, hungry takahē

Here’s hoping that these new couples keep getting along and that we have a busy breeding season ahead!