Apr 132014

On New Year’s Day 2014 we received an SOS from the DoC office at Stewart Island and later that day we collected a young Stewart Island Kaka from the Invercargill Airport. The bird was checked that evening by our trusty vet, Dr Lisa Stuart who was pretty sure the bird had a broken left femur. We decided to keep her warm with plenty of fluids until 3 January when Lisa could arrange to operate at the Kennington Vetco clinic.

She did some research and decided to pin the leg, which was carried out as planned, after xrays, with Russell assisting as well as vet nurse Holly. The operation went well and the bird came home to Bush Haven with a plastic collar around her neck to stop her interfering with the external fixator attached to the pin through the bone. The bird was then on cage rest so that she couldn’t move around too much, while getting used to using the leg. As well as fruit, seed etc she was fed Kaytees formula with fruit juice from a syringe  which she took really well into her beak. One of her favourite foods was sow thistle.

After four weeks the  bird was xrayed again and although not 100% straight, it was found the bone was healing well. At around this time we sent away feathers for dna and proof that we had a female bird was welcome, so naturally she had to be called Lisa, after her special doctor!

On 14 February a further xray was taken and the pin was removed as well as the collar and our special bird continued her rehabilitation in her cage. Another few weeks saw her into a suspended aviary where she could climb around and further strengthen the leg, start to fly without landing on hard ground.

On 7 April we caught her and brought her inside for the night, then next day took her past Dunedin to the Orokonui Sanctuary where she went into an aviary for more flying training. She will be released into the Sanctuary when the staff at Orokonui think she is ready and we hope Lisa has a long and happy life up there.

Being a Stewart Island Kaka she will bring different genetics to the population and will hopefully breed when she matures. Because she was a young bird we decided on this result rather than going back to Stewart Island, also because there would be more supervision in the Sanctuary.

Apr 132014

Last year we sadly lost one of our female kaka who died of lymphoma.  When we asked the Department of Conservation for a friend for her there was none available but that there might be a male available to try and breed with her.  As she had already laid infertile eggs we thought this would be a good idea and would add to the number of kaka needed to eventually release into sanctuaries, both at Orokonui and the Nelson Region.

On inspection, it was found that our kaka aviary was far too small for a pair of birds to breed in, according to new DoC guidelines, so we were pretty down in the dumps for a while as we are now on pensions and there is no spare money to build aviaries, especially of the magnitude required.

We placed an advertisement in the local paper for deer gates, thinking it would be a cheap and fast way to build an aviary extension. An enterprising reporter, Hannah McLeod, thinking of a good human interest story, phoned us and we agreed to let her run a story requesting help. Graduate Environmental Officer Sean Spencer from Edendale Fonterra phoned and suggested they have a team-building effort to build our extension.

The upshot of that is, that the Edendale Fonterra Dairy Factory Casein Department are financing and building our aviary extension.  However this has been a drawn-out process because the men doing the work ended up having to stay at work longer than anticipated for the season and the aviary is not yet completed.

The team of mainly seven men under the guidance of Paul Branks have now been here sor several days intermittently and are ready to put up the netting. They have been enjoying listening to the birds while working, and the team-building is going really well too. The men have enjoyed the sight of several kereru being released and are really surprised at the work we do with injured native birds. 

Unfortunately with the work taking longer than originally thought, we will not have our male kaka before we go on holiday so the female is still lonely, as she has been now for several months….. WATCH THIS SPACE!

Following the newspaper story, we also received several offers of assistance, and donations of money from several people, including:

 Bruce and Barbara Maher

George Bell

Glenn Brown

Edith Jones

John and Elva Barnes

Brian and Chris Rance

We also received a pipe frame from Craig Cruickshank, which had been over a boat, and Russell, along with friends Randall Milne, Dave Simpson, Dave Whelan and family Colin Evans and Peter Stuart has now converted this frame into a second aviary, for use by young kaka if the pair eventually breed, or alternatively as another kereru or large parrot aviary. This was made possible by using Rudnev panels provided by Chris Richardson. and Alliance Company, also by donations of other construction items from Archer Construction and Goldpine Timber, Fogarty Engineering and Daniel Wijkstra plus the purchase of items at discounted rates from Steel & Tube, Blacks, and Allied Materials.

We have also received several kind offers of help or equipment, which have not been taken up,  from 

Graeme Robertson

Jade McConachie 

Eric Laughton

Ross McKenzie

Ollie Halleux

Colin Miller

Rob Green

Gus Inon

Fraser Mackie

Len Diack

We still need to do some tree planting after our holiday so may yet call on you!

A BIG THANKYOU to everyone who has supported us in this endeavour.