Feb 132013

Remember we reported that last winter how Bubs brought her chick to the door for food every day?  Well we have watched that chick grow and mature and it [he?] has now flown off to make his own territory somewhere else.

Remember when we published a photo of rehabilitated bird ‘Lucy’, released at the end of April 2012? – Well – we now believe Lucy should have been named ‘Lennie’ as he is now flying around and feeding Bubs, and with her every day.  In fact we have seen them almost mating!

We now think that Bubs’ mate must have died last year and she has taken Lennie as her new mate.  This is really great as we can now observe them both regularly; however it is quite a commitment to always have food for them.  They do eat from nature as well and enjoying the wineberry around just now.

May 202012
Bubs and No. 19 feeding

On 27th February 2012 Nick Fleury of 90 Marama Avenue South brought a young kereru to Bush Haven.  It was on the ground and couldn’t fly, and weighed only 422 grams, so obviously a young bird.

We fed it through a tube several times a day for a few days and gradually introduced it to thicker food like pureed fruit and veges, then more solid fruit and veges, as is usual, keeping it for a full week in a cardboard cat box, then into a cage in our laundry-cum-hospital.

By 19th March it weighed 435 grams and was put into a small aviary through the day and it soon started flying back and forwards in this aviary, while still being fed.  After a few days it started eating by itself and on 16th April we banded it with a silver band and put a red jess with ’19’ written on it.  That day it went to the big pre-release aviary and weighed in at 633 grams.

No. 19 was released on Sunday, 22nd April and flew into a nearby tree where Bubs was sitting.  She didn’t immediately chase it away and in fact it started flying around with her over the next day or so.

Ever since then, No.19 has been coming for food with Bubs at some part of the day – not every time she comes as we believe she is sitting again.  Bubs doesn’t chase No.19 away but doesn’t like it feeding from her dish, so we now have two kereru being fed daily and this is quite exciting for visitors.  Randall Milne with his two children, Gabrielle and James were happy to feed the birds.  They later named No. 19 ‘Lucy’ – we’re pretty sure she is a female.

Ex-pat Kiwi, Arthur Alsop enjoyed feeding the birds also.  Arthur has been our house-sitter once while we were on holiday so has an affinity with them.


Apr 252012

On Sunday, 22nd April 2012 a single kereru was released from Bush Haven.  It flew into a nearby tree and Bubs came and sat on a branch nearby.  We don’t think it is one of her babies, but she has not chased it away and the two have been seen several days later, fly in the trees as if playing ‘tag’.

They have also both come for food and eaten from a dish – previously a Bubs-only happening.  A friend from Australia was staying and the two birds fed side by side on separate dishes on the first day after release.

Mar 212012

Up until January 2012 Bubs has always nested on neighbouring properties but at the end of January a nest was found on our property.  Russell photographed the nest with its one egg – not a very substantial nest but still ‘at home’.


 Bubs hung around the tree and we saw her sitting close by with her mate on the nest. 

Sadly a few days later we found the egg broken, a few feathers on the ground and Bubs didn’t come for food that day.  We feared the worst – a possum or rat had got her, crushed and eaten the egg and injured Bubs.

We were devasted, as we have our property pretty well protected from predators, but they are very devious.

A day or so later Bubs appeared again with a couple of feathers missing but otherwise as good as gold.  She didn’t tell us what had happened.

Good news follows – we haven’t found it but we believe she is now nesting somewhere else on our property as she doesn’t seem to fly across the road any more and for that we are thankful as we held our collective breath many times as she flew down low when we could hear cars on the road.

Like with our children, we always said ‘watch for cars’ when she flew off but she’s a wild bird after all!  What does she understand?

Mar 212012
Jason Hosking closeup of Bubs

In winter, 2002 a kereru chick which had fallen from a nest in a storm was handed to May and Russell from the Department of Conservation.  This bird was successfully hand-raised but due to it being completely raised by humans, it was at first feared it would not be able to cope with release to the wild so it was kept and fed in the aviary for some time. 

 In 2004 DoC commenced a three-year project to evaluate the kereru and tui in an urban setting and May and Russell became an integral part of the project, as, while continuing to care for injured birds, they also took several kereru caught in mist-nets by DoC staff which ‘sulked’ for a few days, sometimes weeks when caught to have transmitters attached for the research.  These birds were later released either with or without transmitters.

 At the end of March 2005 it was decided to release the hand-raised chick, named ‘Bubs’ with one of these transmitters on and she became a valued part of the research, finding a mate, building four nests and raising two chicks on nearby properties in the first year ‘out’. 

 Two of her nests were videoed and this provided valuable knowledge of kereru nest-building and chick rearing, as the transmitter stayed on her tail feathers for over a year before the feathers moulted and the transmitter was consequently dropped.

Bubs and her mate actually built four nests, successfully raising a chick in the first; having a second chick taken by a hawk [captured on camera], a third egg fell through the flimsy nest, and lucky fourth was videoed by DoC from start of nest building until the chick fledged.

In 2012 Bubs is still nesting in her home area of Bryson Road, comes for feeds regularly while rearing chicks and disappears for several days at a time at the end of the season, as well as other shorter periods.


Bubs is a great hit with visitors to the property, especially children as she will sit quietly on someone’s arm or nearby secure branch and eat from a dish of food.

She has occasionally brought a young bird to the house and her mate also sometimes comes and watches her feed.  


With a rate of even two per season, although she may have reared more – we believe Bubs has contributed 14 kereru to the Otatara area in the seven years since she was released e We are pretty sure she has reared more than two several years because of the frequency of her coming to feed.