Amanda Saxton 05:00, Jan 20 2019
A bird in the hand is worth a whole heap of conservation cred for one Kiwi couple. Amanda Saxton joins the hunt.
"No, no, no, no, you silly bugger," scolds Morag Fordham, as a North Island robin crashes into her net.
Snaring the right species is difficult on the Hauraki Gulf's Tiritiri Matangi, a sanctuary island where laughing saddlebacks and rogue robins can dart past your nose at any moment.
Morag and her husband Simon have set up what looks like a bush volleyball court on a forest track. They're trying to catch New Zealand's tiniest avian – the rifleman, named for its military-green feathers and weighing the same as two ten cent coins – to band adolescents' bare ankles.