The number of kakariki parrots in the Abel Tasman National Park has increased from 12 to 22 as students from Motupipi School assisted in releasing 10 more birds.
Project Janszoon helped plan the introduction of the birds after housing them in an avery near Wainui Hut at the top of the park.
The birds were initially bred at Lochmara Lodge in the Queen Charlotte Sound and were transferred to the aviary last week to acclimatise them to the new environment.
Project Janszoon aviculturist Rosemary Vander Lee says the birds were keen to leave the aviary and she could tell they were excited about their new surroundings as there was a lot of chattering.
“Since the birds have been in the aviary we have noticed another pair of kakariki coming to visit and these are likely to be some of the birds we released last year. It is encouraging to see they are still around and we still have a bit of summer left so the birds may even breed before winter which would be wonderful,” she says.
Project Janszoon director Devon McLean says extensive predator control in the area should provide a safe habitat for the birds.
“We have completed an extensive stoat trapping network, and undertaken an aerial 1080 drop in response to the beech mast, so the birds will have the best chance possible to thrive. The goal is to continue to release kakariki into the park annually, in early and late summer. It will be exciting when more unbanded kakariki are seen in the area as that will be a sure sign the birds are breeding as well.
DOC Motueka conservation services manager Chris Golding says the population will flourish with continued releases.
“The released birds will supplement the few kakariki still surviving in the Park and together should provide sufficient numbers for the population to grow in the improved environmental conditions,” he says.
A fourth breeding aviary is likely to come on board as part of the continuing effort to increase the population of Kakariki.