At The Karearea Nest

The karearea/NZ falcon pair on the island usually nests in the same place, and this year I put my old Ltl Acorn camera on a stand near the nest. These little videos show three very healthy chicks; I don’t know exactly how old they are, but the eggs had not hatched on 15 December, a month before. Three is unusual.

The SD card quickly ran out of space as wind kept triggering the camera, and so this is only a glimpse into life at the karearea nest. The few hundred videos recorded showed that the chicks are generally quiet at the nest site but do move around for shade and shelter, wait their turn for food and tend not to jump all over one another. They probably know not to attract harriers as they must be vulnerable when adult protection is not around.

I can report that at least two of the chicks have fledged and are following Mum around as at late February. The male parent seems to be missing and has been for two visits now. She did well to feed this large clutch by herself. As well as the little birds brought to the nest, she caught two shags (little or little black- a big effort to get them up the nest), and a red-billed gull. She is quite fearless and even had a prolonged go at a reef heron last week, which got quite agitated and it took me a while to work out that the much bigger reef heron survived unscathed.

As you may know, falcon are probably the biggest single impediment to establishment of the translocated kakariki. Falcon are a threatened species in their own right and things have to fall where they may. I did not find any kakariki remains at the nest this year. If the male or a new one does not show up, it may mean some respite for the kakariki next season, but until the juvenile falcon or indeed the adult female disperse the pressure will be on the local birds.