It’s the start of spring on Codfish, this was signaled in true southern style with a dump of snow on the island last weekend. The onset of spring means the first of the orchids are flowering on Codfish, the days are a little longer and most importantly the kakapo are starting to get organised for a busy summer ahead.We had some very sad news a couple of weeks ago, our friend Lee who had been doing so well convalescing at Auckland Zoo took a sudden turn for the worse and died on October 28. Lee’s death was especially sad as he was so close to returning to the island and had made so much progress. Back to 90 we go.
Sarah is also in hospital at Auckland Zoo at the moment. When she was caught for her transmitter change she had a large infected wound on her cloaca and was extremely light. She has made a good recovery and all going well looks set to return to the island in a few weeks. We all feel relieved that she is doing well but sad that a reliable breeder won't be in good enough condition to nest this summer.
The chicks have now asserted their independence and are bouncing around all over the island and it’s a constant surprise to see where they pop up next. Their weights are all stable or increasing so we feel confident now that they have made a successful transition to being wild kakapo. On the names front the three girls are now called Weheruatanga o te po, JEM, and Toitiiti. For the boys Jester has retained his name and Rooster and Elwin are awaiting new names from Murihiku iwi.
The peoples parrot, Sirocco returned from his ‘meet the public’ event on Ulva island and remains in quarantine on Codfish. He seemed to enjoy his interactions while there and is a little annoyed at us for not giving him as much attention and as many tasty treats as he got while he was away.
Our techno wizard friend Stu has spent the last few months working feverishly on a whole new set of snarks and weigh stations for this summer. His masterpiece, the smart hopper, is also in action on Codfish as we write. This is used instead of a normal hopper at a feedstation and is calibrated to only open for the birds we are intending to feed. This means we can be more accurate in ensuring the right birds are getting the correct amount of food. It also means some of the piggy boys like Gumboots and Merty are getting a little annoyed at being locked out of the girls hoppers. The new technology is making a huge difference to our lives already and looks set to keep us smiling all summer long.
Coinciding with all the new techo gear we have almost completed our yearly transmitter changes. For most birds it’s the only chance we get to see them during the year and it’s always a fun catch up as well as a good chance to give them a good health check and assess how they are getting on heading into summer. It’s exciting to see so many girls in great condition leading into this breeding season….fingers crossed!
Today is also the second to last day as a kakapo ranger for Jo as she is moving to the big smoke of Invercargill to take up the position vacated by Deidre when she moved to being Program Manager. This means we will eventually have another new member of the island team…..watch this space!