Romance has blossomed between the two newest inhabitants of Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park.
In the latest addition to the park’s breed-for-release programme, a pair of South Island kaka arrived at the park in October from Invercargill’s Bushhaven wildlife centre.
Park manager Paul Kavanagh says the “pitter-patter of baby parrot feet” may not be far away.
“They obviously settled quite quickly as they have already started breeding, and are now incubating three eggs.”
If they successfully hatch, the chicks will be released into the wild in the Abel Tasman National Park.
“Every baby we can release will be a massive boost.”
Although their numbers have “plummeted” in the South Island, now estimated at less than 2000, they’re slowly making a comeback in the Wakatipu, and have even been spotted in Sunshine Bay and Arrowtown, Kavanagh says.
The pair of love birds are “very curious and inquisitive”, and already a firm favourite with staff and visitors.
Meanwhile, the biggest project in the park’s history, the construction of a new kiwi house, is nearing completion.
Construction of the $1 million facility began in February, and it’s expected to open next month.
It includes an incubation room, food preparation area, toilets and an interpretation area.
It’s been built near the park’s northern boundary to minimise anticipated construction noise and vibration from Skyline Queenstown’s gondola re-development and a multi-level parking building.
Construction on those projects is expected to begin next year. Skyline’s contributed to the cost of the kiwi house, a new fence and native planting.