Fantastic Breeding Season

Fantastic Breeding Season

Toi Toi has partnered with Forest and Bird to help save our rare native birds, like the kākāriki karaka, by donating from every bottle of Toi Toi sold.

The huge beech seeding-mast event this year has brought some great news for New Zealand's rarest mainland forest bird, the orange-fronted parakeet/kākāriki karaka. During a mast year, beech seeds dominate the parakeets' diet and they can produce multiple clutches.

Department of Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, has stated that 151 chicks from 31 nests had been born in the wild so far this season. "This year's epic breeding provides a much-needed boost to the kākāriki karaka population. It is great news that there are more than three times the number of nests compared to previous years," Sage said.

That potentially doubles the current population to about 300 birds. But this endemic bird is still critically endangered, and was once thought to be extinct. But a few birds were found in the valleys of Canterbury’s Arthurs Pass, and now with the efforts of DOC, Forest and Bird, Christchurch Helicopters and Toi Toi Wine, they are now recovering.

But they are not out of the woods yet, as during mega mast seeding events populations of rats and stoats also multiply, and once the seeds disappear, they then turn their attention to the fledgling birds.

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The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust has played a crucial role in rearing captive-bred birds for release into the wild.

This year, 62 birds from the Trust, Orana Wildlife Park and Auckland Zoo have been released into the south branch of the Hurunui Valley.

Extensive trapping of stoats and rats in the valley has meant this is a good year to release the birds.  In the wild the birds are extremely difficult to monitor, so radio transmitters have been attached to the birds to track where they go in the valley. They will be monitored for about 54 days or until the transmitters cease to operate.

View the video of the release of 23 birds in the south fork of the Huruni Valley of Canterbury.