Top picture: The safety briefingThousands of starlings have been roosting within the crèche at Lake Opouahi, threatening to make it an unhealthy environment for young kiwi. The starlings’ droppings carry disease.
A team of volunteers, mostly from the Tutira community and led by George Christison, took on the challenge of scaring the invaders off. We can’t thank Team Starling – George, Polly and the Tutira community – enough for their support in the project. It’s been a huge commitment and effort.
Our thanks also go to DoC, Aaron from Gun City for sponsoring 12-bore ammo, as well as Hamish from Crab Farm Winery and Ian from Two Terraces Vineyard for providing gas gun bird scarers and setting them up. It sounded like a mini-war going on up there!
George and his team spent a week of evenings, bird-scaring at the crèche.
Kiwi chicks from the front of the Kaweka ranges are brought to the crèche in the Spring, where they are safe from predators until they grow and reach a weight where they are more capable of fighting off creatures such as rats, weasels and stoats. When they reach the target weight of around 1kg, they are returned to the Kawekas.
Aside from being home to young kiwis, the Opouahi Wilderness Base is where school students can go camping, caving, gorging and Canadian canoeing. A beautiful spot that provides a safe place for many kiwis – and for Kiwi kids to adventure!