Archives For birds

Brown kiwi live in the North Island. There are four distinct forms, including the Coromandel brown kiwi.

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Mai te urunga o te ra! Ko Whangaokeno! – No nga whatu taiohi. To celebrate Māori Language Week, we hear from Trudi Ngawhare, Kaitiaki, Āo Hāpori and her son about their recent trip to Whangaokeno Island.

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Uncle Aka the ‘perpetual bachelor’ takahē on Mana Island has found love at the Te Anau Wildlife Centre.

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Rangers and volunteers recently went searching for yellow-eyed penguin/hōiho nests on the Otago Peninsula.

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Spring has arrived this past week in Dunedin with the return of Taiaroa Head’s northern royal albatross/toroa. Today’s photo of the week is of an albatross coming in to land for the upcoming breeding season.

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By Michelle Crouchley, Partnerships Ranger, Te Anau

Following a career spanning 30 years of service to conservation, Te Anau Wildlife Park ranger Carol Gardner, has retired from DOC.

Carol feeding a kea.

Carol and one of the keas she has known since it was an egg!

‘The big break’

Carol started working in conservation so long ago that she can’t even remember the date! It all began when she started to look for work outside of her role as mother to her four children. She was married to a farmer, and at the time many employers would not consider taking on someone in her position. When Carol mentioned she was looking for work to Lands and Survey Department staff Russell Montgomery and John Clark, they offered her a job working on tracks in the Tuatapere area. Carol describes this as her ‘big break’ and will always be thankful to Russell and John for giving her that opportunity. Reflecting on this moment, Carol said “the decisions you make about other people can change their lives and we should never forget how much influence we can have on other people.”

Carol’s career has seen her doing many different jobs in many different places throughout Fiordland. In the late 70’s and early 80’s she was part of a project building tracks in Fiordland National Park.

Carol’s walking companions.

Carol’s walking companions

‘Funny moments’

Carol has fond memories of working in the Hollyford Valley with John Clark. One day the fridge broke down and they had to carry it out. John shouldered the fridge and Carol walked in front, as they passed trampers John would explain his strange load by saying “I’ve got the ice; she’s got the gin!”

She then moved to Te Anau and took on a job looking after an area that spanned from Milford Sound to Mavora Lakes; it would take her three hours to drive from one end of her beat to the other!

During this time Carol was responsible for landscaping outside Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre and caretaking in the now council owned Ivon Wilson Park. For the past 24 years she has been  taking care of our feathered friends at Te Anau’s Wildlife Park.

Carol leading a tour of the Te Anau Wildlife Park.

Carol leading a tour of the Te Anau Wildlife Park

‘What will you miss most about working at DOC?’

Carol formed a deep affection for the park’s birds. She has cared for the two resident kea since they were eggs. They are now mature 25 year old birds. She hand-reared the Canadian Geese that reside in the waterfowl enclosure and has looked after all the other birds that have lived in the park: weka, kereru, pateke, ruru, parakeets, kaka, paradise shelducks and takahe. Carol found her calling as an advocate for our native birds. It is the birds at the Te Anau Wildlife Park that Carol will miss the most now she has left DOC.

Carol’s retirement cake.

Carol’s retirement cake

‘What’s next?’

Carol’s contribution to the Department will not end with her retirement as she intends to continue her service by volunteering. She also intends to spend lots of time hanging out with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, walking her dogs and tramping.

Carol giving resident kākā, Charlie Brown, her breakfast.

Carol giving resident kākā, Charlie Brown, her breakfast

By Megan Martin, Partnerships Ranger, Wellington

A few years ago Kawa, a much loved female takahē, was transferred off Kapiti Island and ended up at the Te Anau Wildlife Centre.

She’s a beautiful, happy bird and is a real star down there—always drawing a crowd.

Kawa being released  by Mitre10 staff at Te Anau Wildlife Park. Photo: Barry Harcourt.

Kawa being released at Te Anau Wildlife Park

Kawa is also very fat. She loves sweetcorn but the staff have to watch her diet because all that sugary starch isn’t good for this chick’s waistline.

Although Kawa wasn’t a particularly successful breeder, her genes were already over-represented in the takahē population, so she was paired up with an infertile male, Tumbles.

Each year, Kawa and Tumbles produce infertile eggs which are replaced with fertile ones because they are such awesome foster parents.

Kawa feeding her foster chick at Te Anau Wildlife Park.

Kawa being an excellent foster mother and feeding her chick

At the moment Kawa and Tumbles are also trialling a new type of harness. No, not so they can be taken for walks, but to test how comfortable a new style of radio transmitter harness might be for the wild takahē roaming ‘round the Murchison Mountains.

When the harness was fitted to Kawa the rangers had difficulty finding her keel, or breastbone. Usually this would stick out, but in Kawa’s case there is a little extra padding, so a considerably smaller harness than the one Kawa wears will have to be used on the wild birds!

Tumbles the takahē puffing up his feathers.

Kawa’s partner in Te Anau, Tumbles

From Kapiti Island girl to foster mother and harness model in Te Anau – we’re proud of you, Kawa!