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Kiwi elude audio stalking

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2013
Audio Stalk
HUNTING KIWI: David Bayley and Shane Hood lead a search in the Kaukapakapa Scientific Reserve where audio failed to find any kiwi calls.

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Hopes that a remnant population of wild kiwi may have survived in the Kaukapakapa Scientific Reserve are fading.

Five nights of audio recordings in the 210-hectare reserve turned up plenty of morepork but no kiwi.

Rumours have persisted for years about a remnant population and residents, including Kaukapakapa Scout Group members, checked with the aim of protecting any kiwi found.

Department of Conservation kiwi expert Pete Graham ran the recordings through special software which shows the sound as audio graphics.

Kiwi and other birds have distinct signatures on the graphics and can be double checked by listening to the audio, he says.

Previously he would have searched bush with a kiwi tracking dog, then spent a few hours over several nights listening. The recording equipment picks up noise within a 40ha area.

At the reserve, tui can be heard up until about 8.30pm, he says. Moreporks kick in about 8pm. Possums are heard during the night, along with weta scratching.

A plane passes about 7.30 each night and even a siren - possibly from the Kaukapakapa fire station - showed up. But not a whisper from kiwi. That does not mean they are not there, but it is less likely now, Mr Graham says.

The cubs are keen to put the recording device out again next May or June.

Meanwhile, the first chicks have been born to kiwi released in April at the privately owned Marunui native forest in the Brynderwyn hills, along with kiwi released in May at Glorit farmers Gill and Kevin Adshead's 1300ha property.

More young northern brown kiwi will soon be transferred on to both properties from Motuora Island. The birds are hatched at Auckland Zoo from eggs collected around Whangarei and grow on the island for a year till big enough to survive predators. While there are increases in kiwi in managed areas around Whangarei, overall the birds are still in decline.

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- Rodney Times

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