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Thanks to an active intervention program, at Whangarei Heads we really do have kiwi in our backyard.

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January 10th, 2020

2019 December Update

Upcoming Kiwi Release – Sunday Feb 16 at Parua Bay Community Centre – 5.30pm 

Please let your friends, family and neighbours know that our annual kiwi release is coming up. See attached invite. It is a fantastic chance for folks to see wild kiwi up close and personal, find out about what is happening locally and what they can do to help their kiwi. It is a huge team effort so thanks in advance to all those working hard to make it happen – I will be sending out a detailed runsheet of tasks to those involved in the next week.

Extremely Dry conditions hard on kiwi chicks  

It is the driest 12 months we have ever had at the Heads. The dry conditions mean that their isn’t much kiwi tucker about and adult kiwi have been unable to put on enough condition for their usual second round of nesting. The chicks that hatched in the first round of nesting are doing it even harder as their small bills and inexperience mean they are struggling to feed well -and it is from the grubs etc that they get their moisture.  So this year’s chicks are slower growing and wandering further, turning up in some unusual places. In the past week 2 chicks have turned up in flower gardens in built up residential areas, one in Lorna Wuthrichi’s place at McLeod Bay – much to the delight of her grandkids and was named “Lucky” (see attached photo from Kim Coll), the second was in Lil Ruffle’s garden in the Taurikura village and named “Koru”.  I transferred both chicks away from the residential areas to damper wetland areas with more tucker for them. A third chick unfortunately drowned in a plastic lined water supply – it slid in and couldn’t get out.  So please a reminder to those of us with dogs to be extra careful with kiwi moving about even more than usual. Also please check your water troughs etc to make sure there is an escape staircase of rocks etc to prevent drowning.  And finally if everyone can do a rain dance please!!

Note: the upcoming kiwi release at Parua Bay will be of birds big enough to deal with the conditions. They are going into an area with plenty of wetlands and with much lower kiwi numbers than the Heads peninsula – even so it would be bloody good to get some rain soon!

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program :

As expected the juvenile stoats have been turning up as they disperse.  The controlled ground based 1080 pulse done on some blocks in the spring has certainly reduced the stoat catches in those areas to zero.

December predator trap catches:  Stoats 3, Weasels 3, Cats 2, Rats 77, Hedgehogs 6 and 8 possums.

What your radio tracked Backyard Kiwi have been up to:

As mentioned the dry has scuttled the usual second round of nesting with only Wally giving it a go – he lives in a large wetland area along the edge of the Pataua Estuary so will still have good damp feeding conditions.


Malaika with Steve and Jack

  • Darwin– At Lamb road, he has moved south of his usual territory at the quarry to a wetland area.  Nightly activity of 8.5 hours.
  • Whitu – In the damp area behind the freezing works at Reotahi.  Nightly activity of 9 hours .
  • Moa – Still no signal, I will keep looking and listening.
  • EB – In pampas opposite houses on Kerr Rd. No sign of nesting at all this year- activity 9 hours.
  • Pakipaki – In pampas  in the horse paddock at McLeod Bay, 9.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Ross – Up the deep sided stream valley at Pepi Rd. Activity 19 hours.
  • Harikoa – Still in wetland  NE end of Campbell Rd, 10 hours activity.
  • Wally – on the edge of the pines and the estuary wetland at the end of Campbell Road. He is bucking the trend and is almost finished his second nest (presumably with Mokopuna). He was 37 days in on 16/12/19 with a good low nesting activity of 2 hours.
  • Teina –  Down the bottom of the valley with the young pine block east of Owhiwa road (Kelly Martin’s dog free property), 9 hours activity.
  • Malaika –  In a wetland on Steve and Anne Plant’s property on the west side of Taraunui Road.  Jack helped me catch her in a patch of pampas by the wetland for her transmitter change – she is over 2 years old and grown to 1850g and bill of 119.1mm so still has some more growing to do before full adulthood (see attached pic of Malaika with Jack and Steve).
  • Awhi – She is still in same wetland on Campbell as Harikoa. I caught up with her for her transmitter band change and she was a healthy 2250g in weight.

Rarewarewa – (ONE dads monitoring funded by Kiwis for Kiwi) 

  • Ngutu Roa –  Usual area SW reserve, 9 hours nightly activity, did 6 monthly band change – 2150g so not in breeding condition.
  • Sancho – 10.5 hours activity, usual area NE reserve.
  • Kimposter– as noted last month his data stream had shown a very quick re-nest but his activity had risen to 9.5 hours after only 21 days (too high an activity for successful nesting). I checked the nest site and found a recently dead, but fully developed egg so it looks like he is up to his old incubation sharing behaviour with Kim – with one or both of them dropping the ball at the end of incubation! Kimposter got his name as he had previously taken over nests being incubated by the male named Kim which is unusual behaviour.  Kimposter had moved to a shallow burrow nearby and I did his 6 monthly band change: weight 2325g,  Med-good condition, he was with adult female “Felicity” (ID chip 6834181- his usual mate) who I gave a quick check: 2600g and excellent condition, 141.3mm.
  • Nick– Usual area in Lovell’s bush, 9 hours activity.
  • Ngaro –  Usual area above the airstrip, activity 9.5 hours.
  • Moeahu – NE end of reserve 11 hours activity.

Don’t forget the rain dance!

Cheers Todd

Please note that my email address has changed to:

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

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