Birds on a Plane...Möhua Transfer Likely to Happen Tomorrow
Media Release Friday 4 October 2013
Birds on a Plane …..
Möhua Transfer Likely to Take Place Tomorrow
After several postponements because of weather, it looks as though the catch, capture and transfer of the endangered native bird, the möhua, will take place tomorrow (Saturday).
Thanks to a South Island company playing a key role in the Christchurch rebuild the native bird species möhua / yellowhead, has been given a new safe home on a Marlborough Sounds island.
Blacks Fasteners is working with the Department of Conservation by supporting the relocation (by small plane) of the endangered New Zealand onto the unique predator-free sanctuary of Blumine Island in the Malborough Sounds. The transfer is hoped to take place on tomorrow, weather permitting, and is part of ongoing efforts to save the species from extinction.
The plan is to catch a maximum of 40 möhua in the Blue Mountains in Otago from around 7.30am tomorrow by six “catching teams”, with the birds then being transported by helicopter to Gore Airfield at around midday, transferred to a small plane and then flying to Picton (approximately 2 - 2.5 hours depending on weather) where a boat (at approx. 2.30pm) will be waiting to take the birds directly to Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds, a 40-minute drive.
The birds will be accompanied on their flight by Rewi Anglem from the Hokonui Iwi who will be handing over the care of the möhua to members of Te Atiawa iwi from Waikawa.
Blacks Managing Director Roger Black says it is incredibly important to him to support and conserve New Zealand’s beautiful environment.
“I’m an outdoors man, always have been. To be in a position to be able to give something back to that great outdoors is fantastic,” he says.
Roger adds that it is very appropriate that a South Island-wide company like Blacks Fasteners is supporting the transfer of such a vulnerable bird like the möhua, from the bottom of the South Island to the top.
DOC Services Manager, Roy Grose thanked Blacks Fasteners for its very valuable support in moving möhua to the Blumine Island sanctuary where it was hoped the birds would establish and thrive as a new population for the species.
“The move is important for the endangered möhua species but we are also pleased it will enable people to enjoy seeing this eye-catching yellow-headed and breasted bird in the Marlborough Sounds. We hope that as in years past, möhua will be spotted flocking and feeding with tïeke/saddleback, orange-fronted käkäriki and rifleman also on Blumine. We are extremely grateful to Blacks Fasteners for not only supporting möhua but also for supporting the development of a 2.4 km walking track on Blumine which provides for easy exploration of its lush forest and historic remains of a World War Two military base, with stunning views and an enchanting chorus of birdsong along the way.”
Mike Aviss of DOC’s Marlborough District Office, who has been organising the transfer of the möhua, says on transfer day much depends on the weather.
“With air and sea travel, we are very much at the mercy of Mother Nature, but all going well there should be no problems,” he says.
Mike Aviss says the möhua keep gentlemen’s hours and are normally not very active until “they’ve had a bit of a feed first thing, but then hopefully”, he says “it’ll be all on!”
“We will put a good supply of live mealworms in each box to encourage the birds to eat (and stay hydrated) throughout their journey.”
The move will enable people for the first time to see the small songbird on a Marlborough Sounds island reserve. It also brings the möhua close to where it was first painted by Captain Cook’s naturalist George Forster in 1774 at Wharehunga Bay which is just a five- minute boat trip away.
The small insect eating bird, which lives only in the forests of New Zealand's South Island, was one of the most abundant and conspicuous of our forest birds In the 1800s, but now it is the most threatened of its genus, Möhoua.