Ka¯ka¯ makes the most of park

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - Ge­or­gia May

Hawke’s Bay bird watch­ers were filled with de­light af­ter they spot­ted one of New Zealand’s favourite par­rots in Pakowhai Park this month.

Three Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil care­tak­ers were fin­ish­ing their lunch when their ob­ser­vant dog Pick­les spot­ted a cu­ri­ous ka¯ka¯ in the tree above their lunch spot.

The en­dan­gered par­rots were re­leased in Hawke’s Bay as part of a translo­ca­tion pro­gramme run un­der Poutiri Ao o¯ Ta¯ne at Bound­ary Stream Main­land Is­land and Cape Sanc­tu­ary.

Brows­ing by in­tro­duced pests such as pos­sums, deer and pigs has re­duced the avail­abil­ity of food, mak­ing the par­rots vul­ner­a­ble.

Pos­sums also eat the same kind of food as ka¯ka¯, most sig­nif­i­cantly, high en­ergy food types such as en­demic mistle­toe and ra¯ta¯.

De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion Ahuriri-Napier se­nior bio­di­ver­sity ranger Denise Fastier said it was not un­usual to see ka¯ka¯ in Hawke’s Bay’s urban ar­eas be­cause they fly down to es­cape snow on the moun­tains.

“This year we’ve had re­ported sight­ings of ka¯ka¯ as far away as Waipuku­rau, and closer to the birds’ home, peo­ple have re­ported see­ing them in Have­lock North on Napier Hill and in Pakowhai Re­gional Park.”

To date, the Poutiri Ao o¯ Ta¯ne pro­gramme had seen 21 ka¯ka¯ re­leased at Bound­ary Stream and up to five un­banded birds (birds that weren’t part of the translo­ca­tion) have since been sighted.

“More could be out there though, as ka¯ka¯ are pro­lific breed­ers — some pairs pro­duce as many as 10 chicks a year.”

Fastier said the time chicks spend in the nest be­fore they fledge — up to three months — is when they are most vul­ner­a­ble.

“Their smell com­bined with the fact their nests of­ten have only one way in and out make ka¯ka¯ chicks easy prey.

“Translo­ca­tion pro­grammes, to­gether with preda­tor con­trol, are vi­tal to the sur­vival of the ka¯ka¯.

“We hope that translo­ca­tions will help re­ju­ve­nate ex­ist­ing pop­u­la­tions in the Kaweka For­est Park and Maun­gatani­wha Na­tive For- est.”

The growth in pop­u­la­tion re­mained pos­i­tive in Hawke’s Bay with ka¯ka¯ spot­ted at Bound­ary Stream and in the Kawekas, as well as Maun­gatani­wha since 2016.

Cape Sanc­tu­ary staff also re­ported see­ing wild kaka around their aviaries.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Ka¯ka¯ sight­ings are be­com­ing more fre­quent in Hawke’s Bay.

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