Rowi Project Blog
Last week I headed out for the day with Fiona, who was taking a day off from working at the West Coast Wildlife Centre to join me in Okarito forest to help with checking our newborn rowi chicks.
We had two pairs of rowi that we were hoping would have a newborn chick each, so we headed out for our walk to look for the birds.
These birds live relatively close together, although they still have their own territories so keep their distance from each other!
With the help of Skyranger, we were waiting for these birds to finish incubating an egg each and were hopeful they would both have a chick hatched and well in the burrow with them. Rowi incubate one egg for around 75 days before it hatches out to a miniature rowi – all ready to eat invertebrates and worms and look after itself.
First, we went to visit Timone and her mate. We got a signal for their transmitter, which is attached to her leg. In this way we can find her no matter which burrow she may be sleeping in for the day.
We tracked in quietly through the forest following the loudest signal until we came to their burrow, a huge fallen tree on the side of a hill-slope near the top of a ridge.
After carefully crawling around the log trying to find the entrance, I saw a large hole that disappeared into the log. On closer inspection there were a few kiwi feathers so I quietly shone my torch in to see if I could view the birds. Timone and her mate were both sitting inside the entrance, however I could not see a chick or any egg.
I was sure there was no chick with them, however I decided we should still visit them on another day to see if the chick just may have been sleeping close by….
Next we headed back along the track to get a signal for Rupert and his girlfriend, hoping that this visit would be more successful.
Again we tracked in quietly and as we got close I whispered to Fiona to be as quiet as possible. We were just about to start walking up closer to a large log as there was a loud crashing and the female ran past us as we stood quietly looking on! She must have been sitting at the entrance and heard us coming….we quickly moved up to the now obvious burrow entrance and I knelt down to check inside.
The male was still sitting quietly with a very furry, very small chick beside him!
I reached inside and gently pulled the chick out so that Fiona and I could weigh him and attach a miniature transmitter to his leg. He was a perfect, gorgeous chick, we both felt very excited and priviledged to have seen him in the wild with his parents!
We will now keep an eye on the chick over the next year or so to see how he grows.
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Unlike other birds, the kiwi chick emerges from its egg fully feathered and is expected to look after itself.