Greedy white heron cleans out fish ponds

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 11:00 23/08/2014

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More commonly spotted on the $2 coin, a rare white heron has cleaned out a Palmerston North fish pond.

A white heron, or kotuku, has made the city home for the past two months ahead of the breeding season, which starts next month.

Village manager at the Olive Tree Retirement Village Robert Warnock said the bird had eaten all of the 100 fish that lived in a pond at the complex.

"It's emptied our pond completely," Warnock said.

He had tried to shoo the bird away when he saw it, knowing the species is threatened and cannot be harmed.

More common in Australia, the South Pacific and Asia, only about 120 white herons remain in New Zealand.

They can travel widely during the year but only breed near Whataroa on the West Coast.

After their breeding ground was discovered in 1865 the birds were hunted to near extermination for their ornamental feathers.

A DOC spokeswoman said the department's Palmerston North office had been alerted to the bird's presence by a city resident who had had her goldfish eaten by it.

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- Manawatu Standard

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