New chicks complete avian love story
It could be a fairytale. Two lovers meet, settle down and start a family.
Except it's the love story of two rare birds who found a home and have now welcomed at least two new additions to their family.
Two rare Australasian crested grebes who shacked up on Lake Te Anau weeks ago have now had chicks.
Department of Conservation ranger Carol Gardner built a home raft for the pair earlier in the season, when they were in search of somewhere to settle down and start a family.
The chicks, born a fortnight ago, were the best Christmas present she could ask for, she said.
"It's very exciting. It just makes you feel really good."
Ms Gardner built the home for the pair out of twigs and a flotation ring after their attempts failed because of the rise and fall of the tide in the lake.
Each day the birds would build with twigs and weed, only to see their work go to waste when it was washed away as the lake level changed.
But her home-made raft, which could be moved around the lake because it was attached to a brick, was such a success she planned to make several more for the next breeding season.
DOC ranger Andrew Smart said that at the time the nest was built there were about six pairs of grebes nesting on the lake and about 250 of the birds in the South Island.
The birds are not found in the North Island.
Ms Gardner said names for the chicks were yet to be decided.
The Southland Times