We’re on the front lines of the Save Our Iconic Kiwi initiative. Our ranger Tim and his team have been studying the population of kiwi at Shy Lake to find out how to best protect them from predators like stoats. They have captured a number of kiwi and put transmitters on them, and are now monitoring them through the breeding season to find out how well the adults and chicks survive without pest control.
Today’s guest post comes from Karen Andrew, one of Tim’s kiwi monitoring team mates. She goes through the challenges, but also the highlights of catching the new Fiordland kiwi chicks and placing transmitters on them, for monitoring.
Karen: Tim and I are not long back from a successful trip checking on the progress of the southern Fiordland tokoeka chicks at Shy Lake.
After visiting each nest and reviewing the trail cameras we determined that Long John Silver’s chick was spending a lot of time out of the nest. This made it our top priority to stake out the nest and wait for the chick so we could attach a transmitter. Unfortunately for us the chick was an ‘early bird’ and had already departed the nest before wearrived the first night we tried to catch it. Luckily on night 2 we turned up even earlier and were successful. I’ve decided kiwi chicks are possibly the cutest chicks ever! It’s hard to put them back into the nest again knowing it’s highly likely they will become dinner for a stoat.
Filibuster’s chick was next on our list and due to a shallow burrow, we were able to check it during the day. Lastly, we visited Sinbad Colby’s nest for another night-time stake out. This little chick had guts! When put back into the nest it ran back out and hissed at me (like an adult). It came across as more cute than scary given its size, but it was still quite impressive it was brave enough to try to be scary after its first encounter with people! Here’s hoping these chicks are able to last a bit longer than last year’s…