Archives For parakeets

DOC Director-General, Lou Sanson, gives us the run-down on happenings in the Chathams after his recent visit.

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It’s times like these that I am reminded that the organisation I work for can be like a big family.

Sarah, the orange fronted Cantabrian, with two Tauranga chicks, Barb and Janice

Following the Christchurch earthquake and our office being closed, I decided to go back to my hometown and work from the Tauranga Area Office for a few weeks.

They welcomed me with open arms – great bunch of people – and on my first day I was reminded by ranger John H that other Cantabrians also were seeking refuge here. Canterbury’s own orange-fronted parakeets or kākāriki – are currently residing here on Tuhua – an offshore island paradise.

And within a week of being back inside the buzz of a busy area office I was privileged to be among the first to hear – juvenile parakeets had been spotted on the island!

The arrival of new babies are always a happy occasion and these wee parakeets – photographed by John H during a nest-monitoring trip – are no exception.

Orange-fronted parakeets are extremely rare – there are less than 200 left in the wild and only in Canterbury.

Orange-fronted parakeet/kākāriki

To help save this species from extinction, some birds have been reared in captivity by Anne and her team at Isaacs Wildlife Trust in Christchurch. The birds are then released on predator-free offshore islands – including Tuhua here in the Bay of Plenty. They arrived here this summer, and John H has been keeping a close eye on them ever since.

This little kākāriki signals hope for the future – the first confirmed breeding of orange-fronted parakeet in the North Island for over 130 years!

Everyone here – and in Canterbury – is absolutely over the moon with the discovery.

Tuhua, because of its size, could be just so important to the future of this fantastic wee parakeet. Tūhua is a really special place – the ancestral home of Te Whānau a Tauwhao ki Tūhuaand looked after by the Tūhua Trust Board.

I feel so proud to have just been a bystander in this wonderful event. And it reminds me that no matter where we are in the country, we are all working towards the same goals – a future for our own children. Just call me Aunty Sarah!

Raoul Island diary # 4 by Daniel Bristow

Battling the birds and insects

On Raoul Island, we have all acquired pet odd jobs to do around the hostel in our spare time. One of my personal favourites is helping to cultivate the vegetable patches. I find it really rewarding due to the perfect growing conditions here, but we have discovered there are many other critters around here who want to share in our nutritious veggies.

Polly, Lachlan and the author pricking out Hebe seedlings.

Polly, Lachland and me pricking out Hebe seedlings

The caterpillars here grow at a phenomenal rate, and have munched through numerous leafy greens and around 50% of our tomato crop.

Another 45% of the tomatoes are devoured by the beautiful kakariki/red crowned parakeets (I believe they are the culprits, but it’s still a debated issue!). They managed to get through the bird netting somehow, leaving us with a couple of precious tomatoes between the eight of us each week.

It’s hard to see these birds as a scourge though, as they always seem so cheerful and happy. Robbie found a distressed kakariki stuck in a parapara/ bird catching tree last week, which Polly cleaned and nursed back to health – one of Polly’s many bird rescues.

A small but interesting lesson Raoul has taught me is that it is irrational to dislike ants and, to a lesser extent, cockroaches. All I have observed them do is clear up all the tiny food scraps we messy humans leave behind, like millions of efficient little helpers. A revelation!

Those special experiences

Petrels swooping around in the golden sunset.

Petrels swooping around in the golden sunset - a great birthday treat

Lachlan decided on Christmas morning that it would be a great idea for us all to eat breakfast out on the verandah; this led to the dining table being promptly moved outside. Every meal since we have dined al fresco, gazing over the ever changing Pacific Ocean and pukeko-strewn lawn. What luxury!

Lastly, my birthday was a unique and enjoyable one this year. After talking on Skype to loved ones back home and receiving warm wishes from the rest of the team here, a few of us decided to camp at Hutchinson Bluff to watch the sunset on arguable the most perfect, warm and still summer’s evening since we arrived.

There were tropical birds, frigate birds and many petrels swooping and gliding around as the sun went down. We enjoyed chocolate cake, fine wine (kindly donated by Ian) and the seemingly endless ocean stretched out before us. It was a beautiful end to a perfect day on Raoul.