Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Kapiti Island hihi end of season wrap up

The main hihi field work on Kapiti Island has finished at the end of March and it was a solid season overall. A total of 134 birds were identified throughout the season. This number is made up of 97 adults identified in the October 2015 pre-breeding census, and 37 birds banded throughout the season - 20 adults and 17 juveniles. The pre-breeding census count of 97 birds is slightly down on the previous season where 104 birds were identified. But the total end of season figure of 134 is slightly higher than the 129 identified at the end of the 2014/2015 season.

Taking a tarsus measurement. Photo: Dallas Bishop
From April 2015 to March 2016 a total of 3879L of sugar water was dragged up the hill with 3260L (84%) of this being consumed. This was an increase on distribution but a decrease on consumption from last season. The hinau on the island flowered strongly this season, as did the rewarewa. Both of these species are key food sources for hihi, while the rata and pohutukawa had a poor flowering season which may have affected the increased numbers of feisty and dominant korimako/bellbirds using the feeding stations.

Count all the male hihi!
The Hihi Heroes (volunteers) contributed approximately 560hrs to the hihi program during the 2015/2016 season which allowed for more sugar to make it up the hill and really helped with the accuracy of the pre-breeding census.

The flash new interpretation sign at one of the feeding stations.

Here’s hoping that many of the 134 banded birds (as well as the others that evaded capture) survive the winter and we have another successful season in 2016/2017. 

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