By Lisa Hamker, Visitor Centre Ranger at Paparoa National Park.
This fluffy thing, with the big, black and beautiful puppy dog eyes, is a one month old Westland black petrel chick in its burrow just south of Punakaiki.
The chick’s parents still come in for feeding time in the evenings by doing an “elegant” crash landing in the canopy. They then drop to the ground, looking slightly disorientated for a few minutes, before regaining composure and waddling off to their burrow to have a noisy and somewhat reproachful chat with their partner. A bit like: “Did you actually forget to bring the Hoki? Do I now have to fly ALL THE WAY back to Hokitika to get one!”
In the morning mum and/or dad petrel will have to jump off the cliff to get airborne as their legs are too short to get them going on even ground. And off to another day at sea. Isn’t it amazing what these guys take on to raise their chick?
But let’s be honest – who wouldn’t, looking at a fluffy thing like that?