Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A long, dry summer has hardened the ground, making it difficult for kiwi in the Bay of Islands to probe for food, so kiwi are searching for food in the daytime which leaves them more vulnerable.

Date:  05 February 2019

DOC suspects the drought-like conditions are impacting kiwi abilities to forage for food easily.  Kiwi use their bills to probe the ground in search of food like worms. The bills of kiwi chicks are softer than those of adults, meaning the dry conditions are especially hard on the young.

DOC Biodiversity Ranger Cinzia Vestena says, “Our advice to the public is to observe the kiwi from a distance and do not put any meat out because kiwi would not necessarily recognise it as food. Meat also attracts predators such as cats, stoats and dogs, which puts the birds in danger.

“Kiwi get most of their moisture from food but people who live in high-kiwi areas could try leaving a dish of water out or water patches of ground to create damp areas for the kiwi to feed. Dogs should be tied up at all times.

“Last time we had a long, dry spell kiwi were found in swimming pools and troughs made from baths and fish ponds and some drowned. Kiwi can swim short distances but cannot climb slippery smooth sides. An easy way to fix this is to add a plank or some bricks or rocks to low pools or troughs so kiwi can clamber out again,” she says.

“People should not try catching or moving kiwi even if they are out during the day. They are vulnerable to injury when picked up and moving them could put them into another bird's territory or break a pair bond. Only consider picking the kiwi up if it is extremely lethargic and doesn’t run away when approached, especially if it is a young bird,” says Cinzia Vestena.

Any reports of kiwi in distress should be reported to DOC on 0800 DOC HOT.


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