Inside the Kakariki Nest Box- Laying to Fledging

This series of little videos documents a kakariki nest in one of our nest boxes during the summer and autumn of 2021. Those of you who have been watching the live stream will see that it is not working any more, firstly because the link failed (no fault of the provider Teleport) at a late stage, and secondly because the chicks have fledged. I will try to compile a time lapse video from the 74,000 still images stored at Teleport- computer upgrade needed first and global chip shortage will mean a delay, yada, yada. In the meantime, these videos were taken from the SD card on the camera. Sometimes this page does not load properly on my phone. If you are having problems too, please keep trying because it mostly does work. I suspect the page is too big- let me work on that.

This is the pair of kakariki/yellow-crowned parakeet we are watching in their nest box. White-Orange is a young female bred at Tui Nature Reserve and released in October 2019. The male is unbanded, so is either island-bred or has chewed his plastic bands off.

6 Eggs as of 31 January. Only the female incubates. The camera is filming in black-and-white here, from ambient light, but it switches over to infrared at night. There is seldom enough light for it to switch to colour. The birds did not react to the camera except when it was put in. They had a look for a moment and have ignored it since. They will be able to see two faint red lights from the 850 nm infrared LEDS. The LEDs do not heat up the box.
Three newly hatched chicks and one which failed to hatch. This is 18 days after the clutch was completed, which is what the literature says, but the female was diligently incubating right from the first egg, yet they hatched in a group over a day or so. She is feeding the chick regurgitated veg and seeds or fruits. She is fed by the male nearby when he calls her off the nest. She is calling before she gets in the box, and you can hear the chicks at times also.
The female takes food from the male and tries to feed the chicks at the same time. There are four now as at 19 February. I was surprised when the male started getting into the nest box, I suspect because he can, as opposed to a natural nest hole which might be smaller.He also took to roosting in the box at night until the chicks got a fair bit bigger.
4 March, around 13 days after the last chick hatched. All four are growing strongly and are quite a handful, as this supposedly peaceful night-time roosting clip shows. The female is now out of the nest for prolonged periods as both fetch food for the chicks.
6 March. Daytime feed.
10 March. Both parents are fully occupied finding and bringing food.
11 March. A bit of peace for a change. The female is no longer brooding the chicks.
15 March. The female is now roosting outside at night.
22 March. There are now only three chicks. The biggest one died on 16 March, going from apparently healthy to dead in 30 seconds. On advice we introduced a low perch for the chicks to assist with their development. The mother took serious exception to it, so we removed what was left of it.
2 April. The first chick fledged successfully on 31 March and I have since moved the camera a little to show the entrance and exit hole better. This is the second one to fledge and the one left looks a bit agitated about it all, then a bit bereft. We took the opportunity to band the chicks while we were there.
2 April. Not to worry. A quick feed from the mother and then off. Flying strongly if downwards.

At The Sooty Shearwater Colony

This series of little videos shows activity at the sooty shearwater colony for the 2020-21 breeding season. Latest videos are at the top.

From March to early May, the chicks are growing in their burrows, then emerging before leaving. The adults taper off in their feeding visits, and the chicks are not fed at all for the last part of their stay.

2 May: the chicks must be close to departure. One was still present on the 5th when I had to take in the camera for the season. A successful year, the second in a row.
26 April: still a weka about, but this one did not get any sooty chicks this year to our knowledge.
20 April: first emergence, but a wet night and the chick has lost most of its down first time out.
Late March: one of the chicks can be heard calling from inside its burrow.

From mid-January to the end of February, there is still much activity at the colony. It looks like the second good season in a row. Burrowscoping shows a good number of chicks, in good condition. I’m struck by the frequency of visits by the adult birds to the two burrows in frame. Birds were evident on the surface every night, often a pair at the left-hand burrow. They must be feeding locally at the moment:

Not uncommon to see four birds in shot. I think the little skips in the clips are a camera setting which I will try to change.
If only I were allowed do this to the neighbourhood teenagers
Pair bonding in a summer downpour
The weka visited the burrow four times in the six weeks. The chick must be deep enough to be out of reach. One of the very few weka still on the island.
The burrowscoping is not very invasive and worth doing I think. Interestingly this burrow has scanned empty two times out of three despite obviously being active. It is a deep one.

We start in December-January. Both adults will be visiting the burrow, and at this stage they will be incubating one egg, or perhaps will have an early nestling. We can see some pair bonding, activity at both of the burrows visible in shot, territorial disputes, wing exercising, burrow maintenance, gardening, preening. Some of the clips have picked up the birds’ distinctive calls very well.