Archives For nesting

“It sat down, it sat down!” This is the exclamation of an excited birder looking for banded dotterel/pohowera nests. It’s breeding season and its time figure out if our new predator cages will work to help boost nesting success.

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The discovery of a kārearea nest near Gisborne started DOC Ranger Jamie Quirk on a small, low cost project to protect two vulnerable chicks from predation.

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

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The first kākāpō eggs in three years have been discovered by rangers on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou. The two nests that have been found so far belong to Lisa, an experienced kākāpō mum, and Tumeke who has bred before but had infertile eggs.

Both Tumeke and Lisa have laid two eggs each – but it will be another week before it’s known whether their eggs are fertile.

Today’s photo of the week is of Tumeke being viewed on her nest through a video monitor.

Tumeke the kakapo on her nest. Photo supplied by Kakapo Recovery.

Kākāpō breeding and nesting on Whenua Hou is triggered by the amount of rimu fruit available on the island, as it is the food that the mother kākāpō relies on to feed her chicks. There has been no breeding during the past two summers because of poor rimu crops.

The Kākāpō Recovery team is preparing for the possibility there could be up to 15 kākāpō nests this season.

By Jeff Hall, Biodiversity Ranger, Mana Island.

The takahē population on Mana Island have had a few new pairings formed over recent months, as a result of the sort of behaviour that could only be likened to an episode of “Days of our Lives” or “The Young and the Restless”.

Fence around takahē home on Mana Island.

Takahē home on Mana Island

While it is not always a good idea to anthropomorphise a wild animals behaviour, the antics of one of our recent immigrants does seem to warrant it.

McCaw (named when she hatched soon after the All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup) came to Mana Island from Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds for an “arranged marriage” with one of our young lads.

McCaw spent three weeks in a large enclosure with her new suitor, Nohorua. They appeared to be getting along, but as it turned out she had other plans. The male from another pair that lived beside the enclosure had caught her eye. Within a couple of days of release McCaw left Nohorua, and used her youthful energy and good looks to split up the long established pairing of Kat and Santi.

Two takahē on Mana Island.

McCaw and Santi the takahē are nesting

But like all good day time television dramas these heart breaking acts had a happy outcome for some; McCaw and Santi have just started nesting. Kat – after licking her wounds and shaking her tail feathers has landed herself a younger man in Hori. But what of the jilted Nohorua you ask? His quest to find the perfect match continues.

Our takahē are well into another breeding season, with nine pairs nesting. The first nests of the season have started to hatch so hopefully we get a reasonable run of weather to help the chicks establish.

Three children coming face to face with a takahē on Mana Island.

Meeting a takahē

We had planned to do another egg transfer to Southland this year, but the birds had other plans. Our birds were a bit tardy in getting going while the southern “foster” pairs started earlier. The requirement for them to start around the same time was lost on the takahē, but at least they’re nesting!


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Anna ready to take photos of the NZ falcons at Wairakei Forest.

Anna with her camera ready

By Anna McKnight, Partnerships Ranger, Taupō.

A pair of rare New Zealand falcon/kārearea are currently nesting at Craters Mountain Bike Park at Wairakei Forest near Taupō.

The kārearea is a courageous bird. One time, in Aoraki/Mt Cook, a falcon defended itself against an Iroquois helicopter that got too close to its nest.

The helicopter was training with the Search and Rescue team and had to move, as it didn’t want to get the falcon caught in its rotor blades. Kārearea 1, Helicopter 0. That was one brave bird!

Having worked for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Aoraki/Mt Cook, I knew what to expect when preparing to take photos of kārearea.

Karearea. Photo: Peter Langlands. DOC Use Only.

Karearea. Photo: Peter Langlands

As Murphy’s Law would have it, I was dressed for the office that day—with skirt, stockings and town boots—not very practical. So I raided my fire bag, and with helmet and fire boots for the terrain, I was ready to be dive bombed!

A NZ falcon soaring through the air at Wairakei Forest.

The kārearea speeds towards me

What I wasn’t ready for is the speed of the falcon. They are thought to get up to 200 kilometre per hour!

The falcon flew straight at me, but they were, in this case, just whizzing past to scare me, rather than striking. I need a better, and faster camera!

The sheer speed made the perfect falcon shot elusive, and I decided it is probably best left to the professionals!

NZ falcon pair sitting on a branch in Wairakei Forest.

Falcon pair defending their nest on Craters mountain bike track

It is exciting to be near such a rare and strong bird of prey, but I tried to be as quick as possible so I didn’t stress the parents out too much. Apologies for the amateur photos! If you are a kārearea fan and want to see some more professional photographs check out the page on the New Zealand Birds Online website.

By Suvi van Smit, Partnerships Ranger based in Westport

The West Coast Blue Penguin Trust have been busy building nesting boxes for the local population of little blue penguins/kororā.

Volunteers making nesting boxes. Photo: Natasha Perry.

Buller conservation volunteers group helping to build nesting boxes

Volunteer standing with a completed nesting box. Photo: Natasha Perry.

A nesting box ready for action!

Timber and materials were kindly donated by the local Mitre 10 in Westport during Conservation Week and the Buller conservation volunteers group spent a day helping to build the new nesting boxes.

These volunteers are a group set up by DOC. They meet at DOC’s Northern West Coast District Office every fortnight and go out with a DOC ranger to do a variety of work for the day—planting, helping community groups, track maintenance, historic maintenance and an array of other jobs.

The volunteers helped to build ten nesting boxes. The hope is that baby penguins hatch in the boxes and are given a measure of protection against predators.

The boxes were placed out in a penguin colony at Charleston on the West Coast to create penguin homes for when the little blue penguins are nesting. The West Coast Blue Penguin Trust monitors the boxes throughout the year.

It was a great day had by all, bringing together a wonderful partnership between the community, business, volunteers and DOC staff.

Little blue penguin. Photo: Brian Gratwicke.

Little blue penguin.