We had a chance to pet a kiwi bird. A kiwi is an endangered flightless bird with only ~95k left in the wild. Our tour leader said that a lot of native New Zealanders never see a kiwi, not to mention pet one. Sparky the kiwi was 13 years old and came to the centre as a youngster due to his leg being cut off by a trap. Interestingly enough he didn’t feel like feathers or hair; he was quite wiry.
Then we go to listen to the talking Tui birds. The centre had an older Tui bird that somehow learned to talk. Before passing on, he taught the two younger Tui’s to talk. It wasn’t like hearing a parrot talk. Their voices were almost human. So much so, that we almost thought they were playing a joke on us. The one Tui said “come on, come on…quick, quick” to the other in order to entice him through the door. One of them also clearly said “I love you” and to top it off they whistled Pop Goes the Weasel. I loved it and was so entranced that I didn’t think to video it. Another gal in my tour did, so I’ll share the video on Facebook once I get a copy.
The final, and quite possibly the cutest highlights were the baby kiwi and baby owl. The baby kiwi was just 28 weeks old and the baby owl was 15 days old. We couldn’t pet the kiwi, but we did get to pet the owl. He was a bundle of soft down.
Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre
Phone: 09-438 1457