DOC Summer Partnerships Ranger Sian Moffitt shares her story about new chicks at the Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary near Taupo.
After just six years as a predator free sanctuary, Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary’s birdlife is flourishing with eight new chicks now onsite, three of them hatching within the sanctuary itself.
The most exciting of the chicks is perhaps the unexpected arrival of Sammy the takahē. The parents Matariki and Hauhanga, who arrived from Maungatautiri mid 2015, have come out of retirement thanks to the abundance of food, space and native bush within the five kilometre predator-proof fence around the international golf course.
I visited Sammy at two months old, and he/she was just starting to become more confident and come out into the open more often. Now coming up on three months old, the chick’s feather colouring has appeared and it now looks more like an adult takahē . Prior to Wairakei the pair had produced six chicks over nine years.
Along with the new takahē chick, there are also two kārearea (New Zealand falcon) chicks. The kārearea pair started coming to the area several years ago and have recently made Wairakei Sanctuary their home. Previously they had laid their eggs just outside of the predator-proof fence, now they are nesting just off the ninth tee making the most of the predator free environment for raising their young and hunting.
Wairakei Sanctuary has also been a crèche facility for kiwi chicks since 2013. This season there are five young kiwi chicks living on the grounds. These chicks are released back into the wild after they reach 1200g which ensures they have a fighting chance of survival. I was lucky to meet two of these chicks in December before their release onto the golf course.
The predator proof fence has meant that many of the housed endangered New Zealand species can breed successfully without the issue of predation at an early stage in life.
The birdlife is now booming at Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary and we are excited to see what the future brings for our birds!