Today we welcomed 4 female kaka to the aviary at the Abel Tasman National Park.
These new girls came to us from an aviary in Te Anau, near Fjiordlands National Park. To make a trip like that the birds travel in individual, wooden boxes. It probably won't surprise you to hear that riding in a box, getting jostled around as you're moved from cars to airplanes to another airplane to cars to a helicopter... well, it can be scary for a bird. So it's important for them to be able to make a big trip like this in one go.
This meant that the weather for the entire length of the South Island had to be close to perfect, because you can't take any chances with delays or with the birds' safety. Believe it or not, today was our third try at transferring these new feathered friends to the Park. We'd scheduled 2 earlier dates for the transfer, but the weather didn't cooperate. As they say, the third time's the charm!
This is what their travel day looked like:
Start the morning in Te Anau
Travel by car to Invercargill
Dropped off with Air New Zealand staff to be loaded onto their flight
Fly from Invercargill to Christchurch
Transfer planes for flight to Takaka
Arrive in Takaka
Travel by car to Manawhenua Ki Mohua marae
Powhiri to welcome the kaka and visitors
Fly to the Abel Tasman National Park by helicopter
Helicopter lands and get transferred to the aviary to be welcomed and blessed
Finally, boxes are opened and the kaka are free to fly around their new, temporary home
In 4 weeks, once the kaka have become accustomed to their new surroundings, they will be released to fly free in the Abel Tasman National Park. Before we do that, they will have radio transmitters attached to them so we can see where they go and make sure they are okay. We're hoping that the 5 kaka boys who already live in the Abel Tasman National Park will come by the aviary and say hello soon. Wouldn't it be cool if they were nearby, waiting to greet them and show the girls around the Park on release day?!
You can see photos from the day here.