600th Kākā Banded at Zealandia
The 600th kaka banded at Zealandia. His combination is ML-R (mauve over lime on the left leg, and a red "cohort" band on the right leg). Photo by Linton Miller.
Tuesday 6 January
600th Kākā Banded at ZEALANDIA
ZEALANDIA has banded its 600th kaka since 14 birds were transferred into the wild at Zealandia in 2002. Until then, kaka had effectively been extinct in Wellington since the early 20th century.
The birds are monitored by a group of passionate volunteers who regularly check the nestboxes with the reward of seeing their eggs hatch and chicks grow into fully-fledged kaka. Nestlings are banded at about 40 days of age before being returned to their nestboxes. A few weeks later, they will fledge and usually spend a few months close to their parents before venturing further afield on their own. Volunteer kaka group convener, Judi Miller, says “even at 40 days old, the nestlings have distinct personalities.”
This season's nestlings are sporting a festive red band on one leg, and two unique colour band combinations on the other leg, allowing researchers to easily identify them at a distance.
Kākā researcher Julia Loepelt holds the 600th kaka banded at Zealandia - a bonny boy. Photo by Linton Miller.
Monitoring this species allows ZEALANDIA to support ongoing research projects that aim to find out more about kaka cognition, the effect of heavy metals on kaka populations, and how kaka interact with the puriri moth and their host trees.
Kaka are now found throughout the Wellington region and are best seen at feeding stations in ZEALANDIA - or in gardens and parks around Wellington City.