This morning, Sunday we successfully released 2 Kaharoa kokako at Manawahe. Named Kaha (Strong, the female) and Roa (Long, the male), the pair were caught at about 8.30, transported the 60 odd kilometers to Manawahe and released before 11. They were placed on an upward sloping punga, bounded to the top and up into the canopy. Perfect!
Amanda feeding Roa banana before his release and Dave checking Kaha’s transmitter. (photos by Ross Dredge & Ngaire Sherriff)
Banana is used to calm kokako. They’ve never tasted it before but you only have to hold it in front of their nose and they plough on in. Carmel, second from left accompanied the birds from kaharoa. She is a founding member of the Kaharoa Kokako Trust and was anxious to see the birds’ new home.
The transmitter sits under the bird’s feathers. It’s contained in a cotton harness that will degrade over a few months and fall off. The whole package weighs only 6 gm, but is probably a noticeable weight for a 200 gm bird.
Kaha with banana on her beak. It is a thrill to get such a close look at these treasures, the luminous blue wattles and the blue ruff bleeding into gunmetal grey. And look at that fierce black eye.
A very emotional but satisfied group of Manawahe Kokako Trust and Kaharoa Kokako Trust volunteers, land owners, Dave and Amanda the catchers and Greg (holding blue aerial) who will be following the birds around until the transmitter batteries die, about 150 days.