Chirp was named a few years ago as a chick by students at Huiakama School, she was missing in action for some time in the Taranaki Kōhanga Kiwi at Rotokare, but we manged to finally track her down last year and transfer her to her new home. Here is an update on how she is doing up there on the alpine slopes from Sian Potier our Kiwi Operations leader.
Early in April we went in to catch Chirp for her annual health check and transmitter change. It had been 11 months since we had last seen her at her release, however we had volunteers and staff regularly checking the signal on her transmitter so we knew she was alive and well. Myself and two volunteers set off early in the morning and had to fight our way through 500 meters of dense bush before we could get a signal on her transmitter. Once we had a signal we tracked her straight to the true left of the Waingongoro River. She was in a large dead stump with plenty of places to hide and quite a few escape routes. After quietly blocking up the escape routes the hard part began; we had to figure out exactly where she was sitting and how to get her out as we couldn’t reach her from any of the holes.
After half an hour without success we lifted up a large part of the dead stump and I saw her little feathered bum sticking out. We gently held her by the legs and lifted her out. I could tell immediately that she was a lot heavier than when we released her, we changed her transmitter, weighed her and measured her bill. We also did a check of her eyes, ears and overall condition, when Chirp was released in 2021 she was considered in poor condition and weighed 2150g. This year she weighed in at a whooping 2850 grams and was in very good condition. She had put on a massive 700 grams in 11 months and looked fantastic. We put Chirp back into her burrow and snuck quietly away.