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.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Kōkako crowned Bird of the Year Monday, 31 October 2016, 9:37 am

Press Release: Forest And Bird
 
31 October 2016

The Kōkako has been crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year after two weeks of close competition and heated campaigning.

Best known for its deep organ-like call, the Kōkako is a large slate-grey bird with blue wattles.

Once threatened with extinction there were just 660 Kōkako left in 1999. But today, their numbers have passed 3000 individuals, and populations are recovering thanks to predator control and translocation programmes.

Like many of New Zealand’s native birds, the Kōkako is vulnerable to predation by introduced mammalian predators such as stoats, cats, possums and rats that kill eggs, young birds and adults.

The Kōkako’s successful campaign to win Bird of the Year was led by 16-year-old Oscar Thomas from Auckland, with help from the Rotoehu Ecological Trust in the Bay of Plenty.

“I first got interested in birds after my class visited Tiritiri Matangi Island when I was 10 years old. I didn’t see the Kōkako that day, but it was worth the return trip. It’s haunting call and ghostly appearance has fascinated me ever since” he said.

“It has the most beautiful call of all New Zealand’s birds and it’s the loudest in the forest. It sings with a deep, five-note call that makes the Tūī sound like an elaborate train wreck.”

While most teenagers have their eyes fixed on screens, Oscar can be found looking for birds. He is one of the youngest guides on Tiritiri Matangi, helps run a club for young birders, and has even volunteered to count rare birds on the Chatham Islands.
 

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