Since a park in Wellington, New Zealand, fenced out rats, stoats, and other predators, rare indigenous birds have returned to the city.
Zealandia covers 550 acres in Wellington. Birds breeding in safety inside its protective fence have spread to other parts of the city.
By Emma Marris
PUBLISHED JANUARY 17, 2018
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
We make our way down a steep wooded slope, holding onto trees and bracing our feet sideways against roots. We’re off trail, but Paul Ward, an app designer and self-described “lifelong bird nerd,” knows the way.
All at once we come upon a young man, blonde and bearded, sitting alone on the ground. He’s gazing meditatively at a homemade parrot box.
The man has the hipster air of a musician or student, and he may well be both, but right now he’s a volunteer—for the Polhill Protectors, a Wellington citizens’ group working to make this urban park, called the Polhill Reserve, into a safe haven for rare native birds. Every few weeks he sits for an hour at this box to keep track of whether kaka parrots are nesting in it.