1 February 2022
Titipounamu juvenile, photo credit Deborah Smith
Whilst Covid lockdowns managed to interfere with multiple surveys going ahead at the end of 2021, we were, fortunately, able to proceed with titipounamu research over the summer, with the help of Otago University research intern Oliver Lewis. His study included surveying for adult and juvenile titpounamu, with simple counts, territory mapping (where possible), and determination of dispersal distance from the release site. Happily, Oliver was the first to confirm the presence of juvenile titipounamu hatched at Maungatautari and other sightings of unbanded juveniles have followed.
Ollie has done a great job in finding, following, and reading leg bands of adults where he could, but some adults certainly were elusive and not as responsive to playback compared to how we experienced the well-established birds at Pirongia and Pureora. This may reflect that the titipounamu are not yet vigorously territorial and the response should increase over time as more birds become more established.
Oliver will send a report in due course and needs to complete his thesis by the middle of 2022. In the meantime, we plan to go ahead with a volunteer post-breeding survey in March of this year and share that data with Ollie to assist in his data analysis. We greatly look forward to receiving his report in the future.
Oliver Lewis surveying the birds, photo credit Janelle Ward