Date: 30 March 2009
There’s a unique type of field training underway in the Pureora Forest Park this week. Teams of staff from the Department of Conservation (DOC), along with volunteers from Moehau Environment Group (MEG) and local iwi have begun training North Island robin/toutouwai, in preparation for the transfer of birds to Moehau.
‘The birds are being trained using a recognised best-practise technique’ says DOC’s Wendy Davies, Project Manager for the transfer.
Teams of two people walk pre-selected lines through the forest, stopping every forty metres to clap their hands before laying out food. ‘We’ll be training about 100 birds for 10 days before moving to the capture phase’ says Wendy.
Tiny maggot-like mealworms are the food used to train the birds. ‘We need approximately 10,000 mealworms for this project - we get a supply of fresh worms from a commercial supplier every week during the training and capture phase’.
Sixty birds are planned to be captured and transferred to Moehau in early April for release at two sites in Port Charles and Stony Bay. More than 60 are trained however, as not all birds captured are suitable for transfer.
The reintroduction of the birds is part of the ecological restoration on Moehau, recognised as one of the region’s most ecologically significant sites.