First chick in years

08:49, Mar 03 2014
Southland Times
The kakapo egg.

The first kakapo chick hatched anywhere in three years is being hailed a little miracle after emerging from a cracked egg held together by tape and glue.

Staff on Codfish Island managed to do what all the king's horses and all the king's men could not when they put the egg back together again.

There were grave concerns the chick, temporarily dubbed Lisa One, would not survive after the egg was found crushed on the nest of its mother, Lisa.

However, Kakapo Recovery Programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said some Kiwi ingenuity, a bit of tape and a dash of glue helped ensure a little miracle on Codfish Island on Friday.

The single egg was found crushed during a regular check of nests by staff last week, she said.

Kakapo recovery staff on Codfish Island had been holding their breath during the five days leading up to Lisa One hatching, Ms Vercoe Scott said.


"It was touch and go for a few days but with the special care and expertise of our team, the dedication has paid off."

Senior kakapo ranger Jo Ledington had done an incredible job carefully repairing the egg with tape and glue, Ms Vercoe Scott said.

"We only have five viable eggs on Whenua Hou and this one was the first laid."

It was rare for a mother to crush a single egg on a nest but it could happen if the mother was startled.

Eggs had a higher chance of being damaged on the nest if there were more than one egg.

"It can get a bit rough on the nest so if there are multiple eggs, we normally leave one for the mother and incubate the others to reduce the chance of an egg being damaged," she said.

Lisa One was in an incubator on the island and receiving round-the-clock attention, including regular feeding, weighing and checks.

It would be several weeks before the sex of the latest addition to the kakapo clan was known.

Ms Vercoe Scott said the chick's beak would be measured in 15 days to give an indication of the its sex. A female's beak is longer and narrower.

"When the sex of the chick is known, we will look at giving it a more appropriate name," she said.

The other four fertile kakapo eggs were also in incubator care and were expected to hatch at various stages during the next few weeks.

Lisa One's arrival has increased the total population of the critically endangered New Zealand parrot to 125.

There were also two fertile eggs on Little Barrier Island under the warm feathers of a female bird.

The Southland Times