3 April 2020
It was the biggest day of the year for our takahe families on the 12th March, when all of them were captured for annual health checks and chick banding and vaccination. Thankfully, all four babies have been growing well and are now starting to look more and more like their parents, with blue-green adult feathers coming through and that dark beak slowly burnishing to orange. We were happy that the Tautari Wetland chicks were in good body condition on capture, lively and well – it seems our pre-emptive increase in their feeding helped them get through those hot dry summer conditions.
Frustratingly, the Coopers chicks were underweight this year. Last year at the same time we had no problems at all with our Coopers family, but it seems the drought conditions have reduced the quality of feed in our large Coopers enclosure – despite there being ample grasslands! The adults were all fine and the chicks had done well until the past few weeks, so we think the combined energy requirement of adult feather growth at the time of poorest grass growth is why the chicks lost condition. We have responded by increasing their supplementary feeding and will check their weights again (once our bubbles are allowed to burst!) in the next month. Thankfully there has been more rain and good grass growth so we are not expecting further issues.
On the whole all nine of our resident takahe are going strong, the chicks are getting used to their new jewellery, and we look forward to naming them in the near future. This year the honour goes to Maungatautari mana whenua, with each iwi/ hapu of the Maungatautari rohe selecting a name for one chick each. We will post the new chick’s names and individual photos in the coming months.