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Kiwi calls monitored for doc report


Every year since 1993, population trends of Northland brown kiwi have been monitored as part of a nationwide kiwi monitoring and recovery programme, and kiwi call count surveys are a key method used.

Catherine Hawley says that with the release of kiwi last year and more this year, Marunui Conservation is pleased to now be able to participate in the process and contribute to the data.

“It’s great that after kiwi being absent for nearly fifty years, the Brynderwyns will be represented in the 2014 monitoring report prepared by the Department of Conservation.”

The monitoring period is from 6-8pm for four nights, between May 18 to June 6 or June 16 to July 5. Listeners record the number of calls, whether they are male or female, the time, direction and distance from the chosen site, weather conditions and habitat type.

The ideal kiwi listening conditions are dry, still and in the dark phase of the moon.

Not all kiwi call and not all birds call every night and of course they may call outside the listening period.

Catherine says many of the kiwi released at Marunui are relatively young and not expected to begin calling for another year or two, and the three kiwi chicks born last November-December will not be heard for a long time.

“We released fifteen kiwi last year and a further twenty-two recently in April and May so we now have thirty-seven birds and we are hoping to hear at least some of them calling. They have dispersed widely over ridges and into deep valleys so some will be difficult to discern but on our first night we were glad to hear five birds in rapid succession. The male has a soaring high pitched call and does so more frequently than the female who has a lower and rather throaty sound.”

Catherine says the new birds have all been tracked and accounted for.

“Knowing that we are contributing to the recovery of kiwi in Northland and hearing them call at night is a cause for celebration and we hope our neighbours will feel the same way.”

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