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     NZ Conservation            Projects

DoC / NZ Conservation Sites

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Wellington, NZ
The National Wildlife Centre
Parrot Society of New Zealand
New Zealand Brown Teal (Pateke)

 Excerpt from DOC newsletter, Orange Kakariki update

The Orange-Fronted Kakariki Team are pleased to announce that breeding has commenced both in captivity and the wild. We are currently on a high,
after a few rough winter months during which a number of the captive juveniles died. These special
parakeets are certainly not easy to raise in captivity!

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Following the last Rare Bits story and a couple of bird transfers to and from Te Anau and christchurch, the first eggs were laid by Valentine and Arthur in Te Anau in late August. Unfortunately after four eggs were laid, Arthur mysteriously died and the eggs had to be artificially incubated at Burwood Bush. The "supermum" foster parent at Isaacs Wildlife Centre (Christchurch) fortunately came to the rescue again, and her eggs were swapped with the orange-fronted kakariki ones. But
fate stepped in once more, and she abandoned the nest after three eggs hatched (one was infertile). The two remaining chicks are subsequently being hand-reared by Darren Page, Isaacs’ resident hand-rearing expert. After an initial slow start and a brief period of illness, the chicks are now doing well and gaining weight. If all goes well they should grow up into healthy adult birds.

Further breeding is also going on with two other pairs of orangefronted kakariki at Isaacs. One pair (Windy-wings and Noah) have laid seven eggs and are now feeding six chicks; another pair (Dazza and Bindi) are incubating a currently unknown number of eggs. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they continue their good work and that both pairs manage to fledge all their chicks without further assistance. Egg and chick collection from the wild has been put on hold to give the captive birds an opportunity to breed and see what they can produce on their own.

Two nests have so far been located; one in the Hawdon Valley and one in the Hurunui. Both these nests are protected with tin wraps and a ring of Fenn traps at their base. It is quite early in season to be having nests already, especially at the chick stage.
Further searches will continue and all nests found in the wild will get this same nest protection treatment.

With rat numbers on the rise, the Hawdon predator control regime has geared up a couple of notches. Staff have been busy putting out extra bait stations and adding extra bait bag lines to the valley, in the hope of curbing the rising rat numbers. A very intensive and busy time for all staff involved!

The orange-fronted kakariki team has recently acquired three temporary nest scouts for the summer season, after Petrina Duncan's departure in October. Searches for further nests will continue throughout the coming months, for as long as the parakeets continue breeding, and hopefully many more will be found and protected. If all goes really well, the captive breeding pairs will fledge all their chicks successfully and re-nest before summer's end.

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