Successful start to the year for our newest kakī

Department of Conservation —  25/01/2017 — 2 Comments

By Sam Haultain, Biodiversity Ranger

The wind may have been strong, but the sun was shining as the first 19 juvenile kakī/black stilt of the current breeding season were released onto the Tasman River last week.

The small gathering of Twizel and Aoraki DOC staff, neighbouring landowners, Otago, Canterbury and Lincoln University students, and associated friends and family could not have been more excited.

A small but excited group gathers to see the first juvenile kakī release of 2017. Photo: Sally Jones.

A small but excited group gathers to see the first juvenile kakī release of 2017

The release represented the success of DOC’s hard work supporting kakī recovery in the Mackenzie Basin, and is the first milestone for the programme in 2017.

“It was great to see the juveniles take to the sky so quickly” said Twizel Operations Manager Sally Jones.

The first brave juvenile of the 19 release birds makes a dash for freedom. Photo: Sally Jones.

The first brave juvenile of the 19 release birds makes a dash for freedom

Having been raised at the kakī rearing facility, from wild-laid eggs, the birds hadn’t had the opportunity to stretch their wings in the same way in the aviaries as they could above the Tasman riverbed.

Kakī juveniles discussing their next move following the release. Photo: David Sagar.

Kakī juveniles discussing their next move following the release

But perhaps the funniest obstacle the released birds faced that day was the river.

After only paddling in shallow, slow moving water at the aviaries, the swift uneven riverbeds of the Tasman proved to be an entertaining challenge!

Released kakī juveniles. Photo: David Sagar.

Released kakī juveniles

With a little help in the form of supplementary feeding and a watchful eye from the kakī recovery team, it’s hoped these birds will do well.

Released kakī flying high above the Tasman River. Photo: Sally Jones.

Released kakī flying high above the Tasman River

Find out more about kakī and the kakī recovery programme on the DOC website or like us on Facebook.

2 responses to Successful start to the year for our newest kakī

  1. 

    does their plumage turn black as they mature?

  2. 

    What elegant birds. Glad the weather co-operated for their release into the wild. Be safe little ones.

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