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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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December 7th, 2021

21- November Report

Christmas do cancelled

BHCT were this year’s host of the combined Whangarei Heads conservation groups xmas do. They have decided to cancel the do due to covid. Sorry that we won’t be getting together to celebrate another successful year of community conservation in the wider Heads area- it has been a distruped year but we are making a difference to our backyard as a community!

Take the Lead!!! Please get visitors to control their dogs

Dogs are the number one threat to adult kiwi. Locals have worked hard to protect their kiwi by having good control of their dogs – tied up or inside at night, walked on a lead and not allowed to wander.  Over summer if you have visitors please get them to do the same – they won’t be very popular if their dog wanders!   If you see an uncontrolled dog please call Dog Control on 09 4304200 and emphasise that you are in a kiwi area.  With a surge of out of towners expected after December 15 visitors’ dogs could be a bigger issue than usual this year.

Kiwi Chicks hatching and doing well

Chookies new nest

 ]NgutuRoa’s new chick

After a couple of extremely dry springs the kiwi have been thriving with the wetter conditions this year -prior to a very dry November!. The dads were able to fatten up before their 3 month nesting stints and it has meant good feeding conditions for the newly hatched chicks.  With the adults in such good condition another round of nesting is likely to be under way soon.

The main threat to young kiwi chicks are stoats so we have worked hard to spruce the predator traps up for this time of year.  Even more effective at controlling stoats is a Kiwi Saver (1080) pulse.  Thanks to the Manaia Landcare team carrying out a Kiwi Saver pulse in the bait station network on Manaia the survival rate of kiwi chicks at the Heads should be high this summer. Without the pulse trap shy stoats would have a huge negative impact on our kiwi chicks and other birdlife.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program:

Trap catches for November: 0 stoats, 1 weasel, 1 cat, 85 rats, 5 hedgehogs, 5 possums.

The low stoat catches are at least in part due to the Kiwi Saver pulse on Manaia and the extensive trapping going on in the Kiwi Link area inland from our area is making a big difference too. Even so the juvenile stoats will be starting to disperse over the next month or so – luckily these young stoats are far easier to trap than their wiser parents.

Road Kill

After a long stint in the care of the WNBRC the young female kiwi injured last month by car strike wasn’t recovering well enough and was put down. Thanks to Robert Webb and his team for their huge effort with this kiwi.

What your kiwi have been up to:

Whangarei Heads Radio monitored kiwi:-   

  • Chookie – Is nesting in the hollow base of a puriri tree(see pic above), in a patch of bush at Martins’ forestry block, Owhiwa Road. His data stream shows a hatch on 27/11/21 at only 65 days nesting. He is still holding tight at 2 hours nightly activity so I will just keep an eye on his activity. If he has successfully hatched a chick it will be the first confirmed hatch in the area for many years.
  • Malaika – She has still stayed reasonably close to Chookie – 250m up the valley from his nest area. Her activity is up to 7 hours.
  • Valentine – She seems to have settled in a valley on the NE area of the Martins’ pine block between Owhiwa and Ross Roads.   10 hours nightly activity.
  • Ross – I caught up with him early in the month in his usual area in pampas up from Pepi road.  10.5 hours nightly activity – no sign of nesting and now we know why; he was cuddled up with another adult male kiwi (it could possibly be a growing female so I will check in a few months if there has been any bill growth but he looks like a boy- . Both kiwi were fat and happy. Ross is 2650g and his bill is 99mm. “Pepi” had no ID chip and is 2300g and 104mm bill length.  They have remained close to each other for the rest of the month.
  • Teina – Still doesn’t seem to be interested in breeding. 10 hours nightly average. Usual area at end of the Martins’ block.
  • Beach Girl – In the pampas and young pines at the north end of Matins’ block. 9 hours nightly activity.
  • Wally – He is hanging in there on his back to back nest.  Because he went straight from one nest to another the microprocessor in his transmitter is thoroughly confused and adding to his first nest daily total. He should be roughly 70 days nesting around now. His activity is a good steady low 3 hours.
  • Pakipaki – In the pampas and gorse in the McLeod Bay Horse Paddock, 9 hrs activity.

[polaroidThis is Pepi, Ross’s new buddy[/polaroid]


The first round of nesting has finished with our lowest ever number of chicks transferred to Limestone –  only 4 when we have averaged 15 chicks per year for many years.  With only 6 dads monitored (and 1 of them is yet to prove to be productive) we are always going to be down a bit. We had 6 chicks hatch but 2 were stoated before transfer – the DoC trapping was halted at a crucial time due to covid. Hopefully we will get a second round of nesting and the re-started trapping can give any chicks some better protection before transfer at 10 days.

  • Nick – In his usual area in Lovells’ Bush. Feeding up after nesting – 9.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Sancho – After his first chick was stoated in the nest he gave up on his second egg – it was developed but dead. He had moved off into the paddock below the quarry. Did his 6 monthly check – 1950g MP.
  • Ngutu roa – Nested under a big old kohekohe tree west of the big slip.  He hatched a chick after 80 days. At day 98 his activity was up and I could smell a rotten egg.  Luckily the 18 day old chick was still in the nest – LC 2106 and he was transferred to Limestone (see pic). Dad was 2100g and M.
  • Moondust – Feeding up after nesting in his usual area behind the wool shed. 10 hours nightly activity.
  • Gorgeous _as of 8/11/21 he was still holding on his nest with 3.5 hours activity and will be 65 days on Dec 6.
  • Nanakia – In Lovells’ bush feeding up after nesting. 9 hours activity.


Kiwi Release planned for Sunday Feb 13

This year has been a disrupted year for all and next year may be even more so but we are working towards our annual kiwi release event being on Sunday Feb 13 at Parua Bay – please put it on your calendar and we will keep you updated.

I hope you all have a relaxing safe summer- take care.

Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton
Backyard Kiwi Project Manager
Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum
M 021 1145 385




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