The 20 Little Spotted Kiwi released at Shakespear Open Sanctuary at the end of April are settling in well. Open sanctuaries senior ranger Matt Maitland says no pairings have been established yet but males and females are mixing, so they have plenty of opportunities to find a mate.
He says that the Kiwi have stayed largely around the north east of the park and the southern part of the NZ Defence Force land. Radio tracking has now eased from daily to every second day, reflecting confidence that the birds are settling in.
The first Kiwi call count surveys have already been done. These are part of a national scheme that uses call rates as an indication of the density of a Kiwi population.
“Although we know exactly how many birds we have and where, this is an important baseline as over time, as the population grows, we will not have this level of exact knowledge,” Matt says. “Volunteers enjoyed the call counts despite the requirement to sit still and quiet in the dark and cold for two hours for four nights!”