New Zealand is known for kiwis, right? Kiwi birds…and the fruit I guess, but I’m talking about the birds. Or maybe the bird fruit combination…
Back to the matter at hand…even the New Zealand people are called Kiwis. Along with the millions of sheep I expected to see, I also expected to see kiwis. Lots of them. While the grocery stores have had plenty of over-priced fruit, I had yet to see the bird type – until today.
Our landlord invited us to ride with her and her two sons to nearby Urquharts Bay for a kiwi release. There was a big group of people at the release; evidently, we weren’t the only ones who hadn’t seen a kiwi in person.
The group that hosted the event, Backyard Kiwi, opened up with information about the birds. Apparently, kiwis are not hardy creatures. The chicks are often killed by stoats (part of the weasel family), and the adults are easily killed by dogs. Backyard Kiwi maintains traps for the stoats and other predators, and they educate the community on the importance of leashing dogs. They also raise kiwi until they are large enough to fight off predators, then turn them loose into the community. It has taken many years, but they have been successful in growing the kiwi population.
Now, I’ve always seen photos of kiwi that look like this…
…so I was surprised when I saw this…
The kiwis were much larger than I expected!
The group leaders showed off the two grown kiwis, Nova and Twilight. Then, the group set off on a short hike. We stopped with the group that watched Nova released into the burrow.
After seeing Nova hide in the burrow and learning that they’re nocturnal animals, I know why I haven’t seen a kiwi. One thing’s for sure, Nova has a great view from her new home.