NZFOA - Banding of Kea in Plantation Forestry Estate

Funded by NZFOA ($8,800)

While kea are known to live and breed throughout South Island Conservation Estates (National Parks etc), little is known about kea in the plantation forestry estate, which often borders large tracts of native forest.

Banding (and potentially putting transmitters) on kea at these sites would give opportunities to look at the potential value of plantation forests to the conservation of this threatened bird. Plantation forestry covers a large portion
of the South Island, and utilising a large number of crew, who have eyes and ears in these areas is immense. It also meshes well with the kea work that is being undertaken on nearby Conservation Estate.

Key questions that may be answered over time by banding kea at forestry sites:

  • Where are these birds moving to?
  • Do we see the same kea in the same areas over time?
  • Is there a pattern to their movements?
  • Are the same birds responsible for causing trouble at harvest sites?
  • Are kea nesting in or near forestry sites?

2019 Project Outcomes

On Friday 9th September our KCT team were privileged to join harvest crews at two forestry sites in the Tasman region, to catch up, band and test five local keas blood lead levels. We are pleased to say that all kea returned low blood lead results. Now that these kea are banded, it will also be possible to start tracking their movements - are they visiting other harvest sites? Where are they coming from etc?

Kea are frequent visitors to plantation forests and at times really test the patience of harvest crews! Forestry machinery and activity is extremely attractive to kea who love hanging out on all that bright, shiny machinery with the forestry crew!

A big shout out to the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (NZFOA) and Nelson Forests Ltd (NFL) for sponsoring and supporting this project and a big thank you to all the harvest crews on the ground throughout the South Island who are extremely tolerant of our feathered friends!

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