Monday, 19 May 2014

Acommadation and food .... for the birds!


When the birds are captured they then need to be well looked after until it is time to move them to their new home.
Some of our birds were caught 3 days prior to leaving.

The birds were housed in temporary aviaries. The photos below show the process of putting them together and fitting them out so that the birds felt at home.  Towards the end of the week another aviary was used as well. This aviary was a permanent one that was located in the bust behind the ranger's house.

One team starts building the framing

Another team starts collecting for the interior of the aviaries


Aviary construction well underway

Carefully lining the insides


Almost done


All complete. Notice the two doors? Only one door is allowed to be open at once. This reduces the chance of birds being able to escape.
Notice the tarpoulins over the tops of the aviary? Any ideas of why they might be there?

During the last translocation, a few birds were killed by a bird that was divebombing the aviary from the outside and knocked the birds out. I can't remember what type of bird it was off the top of my head, but will contact someone who will know the answer and then adjust this blog. I forgot to get photos of the other adaptions that were made to the tree that are behind the aviaries. Any branches that looked like appealing perches were wrapped in plastic to deter the bird from sitting and watching.

So now that the birds have a great place to stay, they now need some food .....
That was Sharon's department. What an awesome lady! Full of knowledge and fun. I spent a lot of time during the week helping Sharon out and getting to know lots about the sustenance the birds need while they are in capticity.
Much planning and preparation has to go into the menu. Add to this the logistics of putting everything through quarantine! What a huge job.
If I thought it was a big job feeding the humans, I was always bought back to earth when I saw the amount of hours Sharon did every day getting the food organised for the birds.
The following are some of the food related photos I took over the week. I hope the captions will explain the photo.

The first two photos show Sharon's 'office' Everything had a place, and was super organised ALL the time :) You can see the fruit under the benches, the ingrediants for some of the different foods that were prepared, the water dishes and supplements. Am pretty chuffed that when I look around the room I know what everything is used for :)


Seperating mealworms from the bran they live in to work out how many mealworms we had. Having spent the last few months working with mealworms I really enjoyed this part of the exercise!

Each avairy got this amount of fruit twice a day. I had to learn the correct way to cut each type of fruit as you wanted to maximise the amount of flesh area that is available to the birds. Very different to the way we eat a piece of fruit.

Sharon preparing the tins for the birds. Each aviary got two of these cafeterias twice a day. Birds are like humans, they like different things. Some birds may eat particular foods and not others. The foods on offer replicate as much of what the birds would eat in the wild. Nectar, fruits, berries, invertabrates etc. As well as all this they also get a mineral/ vitamin suppliment and good old water.

Almost ready to carry the tins down to the aviaries. This was when I felt like I was really helping Sharon out!
 5 Aviaries = 10 boards of tins and 5 buckets of fruit. Plus the water and trays.... and spares in case of accidents....
A HUGE JOB twice a day!


The well picked over fruit after half a day in an aviary!

This was the food that was provided to the birds while in transit. Oranges and meal worms. They were fed before they left Hauturu and again once they arrived at Rotokare. They were then fed again a range of food before the release at 10 the following morning.

You can probably start to get an appreciation of the enormity of the translocation process.
It's not just about catching birds and moving them!  I certainly learnt far more than I ever imagined. I knew I didn't know much before we went but I feel I have only skimmed the surface of what there is to know!
Can't wait to learn some more :)

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