Little battler winging it

FLIGHT PLAN: This kaka chick is at risk of predators.
FLIGHT PLAN: This kaka chick is at risk of predators.

Without security of Wellington's Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, this fledgling kaka chick is enduring a tough start to life.

The male chick, born just before Christmas, was the first to be bred successfully in the wild after the species became extinct around the capital in the early 20th century.

His nest was discovered at the edge of Prince of Wales Park in the Wellington town belt, and has been closely monitored by Zealandia conservation officer Matu Booth, who runs a native forest restoration programme.

Booth visited the kaka chick's nest daily and said the young bird fledged on January 2, a day of wild winds in the capital.

Each day the chick was found hiding on the ground after failed attempts to fly, which put him at risk of predators such as cats and dogs, he said.

The fledgling has been gaining strength in his wings and should be able to fly within a week, Booth said.

The chick's parents' leg identification bands show they were part of a programme run by Zealandia to release kaka into the wild.

Sunday Star Times