As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mohua birds move to new island home

Mohua birds have been moved from Otago to the predator-free sanctuary of Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds as part of ongoing efforts to save the threatened species.

About 18 of the tiny yellow-headed and breasted birds were captured in the Blue Mountains in Otago yesterday.

Roger Black, managing director of sponsor Blacks Fasteners, says teams captured 13 more birds today.

The birds were flown by helicopter and small plane to Picton where a boat was waiting to take them to the island.

"It has actually taken three years to get this done. You have to get the weather right in both Tapanui and the sounds. The birds will die if they are not caught and released very quickly."

The small insect-eating bird was one of the most abundant forest birds in the 1800s.

Mr Black says there are only about 5000 left in pockets of forest in Otago and Fiordland where predators are managed.

Visitors will be able to see the birds on the island, which has a walking track.

It also brings the mohua close to where it was first painted by Captain Cook's naturalist George Forster in 1774 at nearby Wharehunga Bay.

DOC services manager Roy Grose said the aim of the move was to establish a new population for the species.

"We hope that as in years past, mohua will be spotted flocking and feeding with tieke/saddleback, orange-fronted kakariki and rifleman also on Blumine."


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