Flight magazine asked Pukaha/Mt Bruce's captive breeding ranger Tara Swan how the wildlife centre coped
"Lockdown at Pukaha was lovely actually! Obviously businesswise, like everywhere, it was a bit of a big change, but for the wildlife, it was like a break for them. I think nature enjoyed it." she said.
The stand-out moment during lockdown was the arrival of a kōkako pair, walking the tracks daily and visiting the rangers.
"I think the lack of visitors walking around inspired the birds to come and check out what we do every day.
"We had a stunning orange- fronted kākāriki clutch raised and fledged during the lockdown (actually due for release in
September, depending on how this new Covid update plays out)", Tara said.
During the first week of lockdown, four kākā juveniles from the centre's Aviary 3 pair were released into the forest.
This was ideal timing as it meant they could get used to the feed stations and other kākā without the distraction of
people too. They still hang around the feed stations so are easy to spot.
"Once lockdown was over, we sent two kiwi chicks to Sanctuary Mountain for release and four red-crowned kākāriki juveniles were released at Cape Sanctuary.
"Nine yellow-crowned kākāriki went to Nelson, where some stayed for some new captive breeding pairs and the rest were released on Puangiangi Island. "So yes, it was a bit mad! During and after as so many bird transfers were delayed due to the travel restrictions. Thankfully it was during the quiet season," Tara said.
The Wairarapa breeding programme is going very well at Pukaha Mt Bruce. The Shore Plover programme has hatched 22 healthy chicks so far this year with five pairs now sitting on their third clutch.
The two pair of pateke are nesting again having so far successfully reared 12 ducklings between them.
The whio pair has three ducklings and there are three juvenile kiwi in the creche nearly ready for release as well as a kiwi chick hatched on Christmas Eve and one kiwi egg externally pipped and will hatch any day.
One red-crowned kakariki pair have three chicks to look after while another pair are waiting for their five eggs to hatch.
Wild kaka have this year utilised three of the nesting boxes with one pair already fledged and another three chicks not far behind.