New Home for Motuora Kiwi

Last Friday a team of DoC staff, 2 volunteers from Maranui Conservation Limited and Jade the dog came to the island to collect 14 kiwi to be transferred to their new home in the Brynderwyns.

Rolf with one of the kiwi

All 14 kiwi were caught on the Friday night, we managed to get the 14th bird just before midnight. The kiwi being transferred all had to be at least 1.2kg, any smaller birds caught were released. The kiwi were weighed, measured, and fitted with bands and transmitters so they can be tracked in their new home.

Kiwi being processed

Kiwi chicks that are released on Motuora as part of “Operation Nest Egg” are all microchipped so they can be identified. Any birds caught that don’t have a microchip are therefore island born birds. A large proportion of the transferred kiwi were island born birds showing that the breeding population of kiwi on Motuora is thriving.

The collection team

Pycroft’s Petrel chick feeding

Since the arrival of the 70 Pycroft’s petrel chicks three weeks ago efforts have been concentrated on feeding, measuring, and weighing the chicks in preperation for their fledging. Contractor Helen Gummer has been running this side of the translocation from the island, along with the help of volunteers.

The feeding process starts with the blending of a sardine smoothie

The chicks are then collected from their artificial burrows

Ngaire Skelton transports a chick to the feeding shed where the chick is weighed before being fed

The birds are held still by one person while another does the feeding

Kit Brown holds a bird ready to be fed

The chicks are crop fed small amounts of the sardine smoothie every few days. The amounts they are fed depends on their weight and how close they are to fledging.

So far 44 of the 70 chicks have fledged and all the remaining chicks have been out of their burrows at night.