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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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February 12th, 2021

2021 January Report

Upcoming Kiwi Release – Sunday Feb 14 at Parua Bay Community Centre – 5.30pm 

A reminder to 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 to all those working hard to make it happen.

We have 5 kiwi transmitted on Limestone ready for the move – thanks to Lesley and her kiwi dog Yagi.

Folks have been asking about moving the kiwi in the dry conditions. Why we do it this time of year is that it is out of the main breeding season, the birds we have ready to go are healthy and robust (if they can keep in good condition on the very dry island they are going to love the wetland areas we will put them into). Also they are going into an area with lower kiwi numbers so there is plenty of room for them. So don’t  panic just control your dog!

Kiwi “McLeod” at the playground during the day

You (along with 21,000 others) may have seen the BYK facebook story about McLeod or read about him in the Advocate.

He was out during the day cruising around the McLeod Bay playground by the busy road, probably because of the dry conditions and chainsaw work being done near him.  I was on Limestone so Ben Barr (local lizard legend and trained kiwi handler) shot down and caught the kiwi, Martin Hunt also came to the rescue and kept him cool and dark in a box in his garage for the day before I could check him. He was a healthy wild grown adult male of 1800g. I put an ID chip in him and quietly moved him away from the busy area. Dan who rang in the sighting and helped Ben catch the kiwi named him “McLeod”.

Another nearby kiwi (a young wild grown) male didn’t have such a happy ending. He was drowned in a residential McLeod Bay garden. He got trapped in a polythene lined garden pool – the sides were too slippery for him to get out. Please, please if you have pools (empty or full) or low stock troughs please but some stones or bricks in them so a kiwi has an escape route. 

Two other kiwi were killed by traffic on the high speed, busy stretch of road between McLeod Bay and the Nook – both were smelt by walkers and called in – please let me know if you find a kiwi. Both were once again wild grown kiwi showing the success of our stoat and dog control.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program :

The Manaia Kiwi Saver (1080) bait station pulse has meant no stoat catches in that area but juvenile stoats have turned up at the south and north end of the peninsula as they disperse from their mothers’ dens.

Catches for January: 4 stoats, 0 weasels, 1 cat, 46 rats, 13 hedgehogs, 11 possums.

What your radio tracked Backyard Kiwi have been up to:

Teina is getting very close to hatching his first ever chicks and Wally has toughed out another nest to hatch 2 more chicks. These little chicks really need some rain soon to get them off to a good start, and their dads would appreciate more tucker too! The mums are cruising.

Whangarei Heads.

  • Ross– He is still high up in the valley at the end of Pepi road. No sign of nesting with 9 hours nightly activity.
  • Teina– Nesting at the north end of Kerry Martin’s Owhiwa road pine block. 67 days nesting on 31/01/21 and a good low 140 minutes nightly activity as the eggs come near to the end of incubation.
  • Malaika –  She is happy in the pampas in the Owhiwa Road pine block, 8.5 hours activity.
  • Beach Girl – Has moved further to the NE of Kerry Martin’s Owhiwa pine block. The nearby logging activity at Ross road may have scared her on. She has 8.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Wally – Hatched another 2 chicks in his second nest after 90 days on 18/1/21in the pampas at the end of Campbell road.  He was down to a skinny 1650g after 6 months straight nesting (cf a fat 3250g before he hooked up with mate Mokopuna). Landowners (a dog free property) have named the chicks “Uenuku” and “Piko” 

  • Harikoa – In her usual area of wetland/pines at the NE end of Campbell Road. 11 hours activity.
  • Pakipaki – Back in the pampas in the Horse paddock McLeod Bay.

Rarewarewa/Purua- ONE Dads

9 chicks transferred to Limestone to date. 1 this month.

  • Nick– Usual area in Lovells’ bush, Nesting 71 day on 4/2/21, 2 hours activity. Hatch due soon.
  • Moeahu –NE end of reserve. Still no sign of nesting!
  • Sancho – Successfully hatched 2 chicks: LC 2009 transferred 21/12/20 and LC 2010 transferred to Limestone. 2/1/21. He has worked hard and is down to 1750g in weight, even so I found him in the nest with a female kiwi – this is very unusual and if they are trying for another nest Sancho is in for a tough stint.
  • Kimposter– Activity 9.5 hours, usual area above quarry.
  • Ngutu roa – not nesting, not checked.
  • Ngaro – not nesting, not checked.
  • Moondust – Usual area behind the woolshed, 9 hours activity.
  • Gorgeous – His transmitter’s data stream showed that his second nest had failed after about 20 days but he has now started his 3rdnest for the season in a shallow burrow in the paddock. He was 14 days nesting on 02/01/21and 5 hours activity – hope things go better for him this time.

The Lovells have recently logged a pine block on their property. Because of the very high kiwi numbers there a kiwi dog was used to locate kiwi in the block for radio transmitting so they could be checked by the crew and Julia from Doc before logging operations started each day.  I was lucky enough to join Steve McManus and Julia once the logging was finished to re-catch the kiwi and re-transmit 3 of the males for our ONE program (putting chicks onto Limestone). This brings new genetics into the program.

Hope to see you at the release.

Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum


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