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Feeding time revealed an extra chick

We continue to put out a little food for the "wild" weka family but we also see them searching for their own food.

It was while watching them foraging for worms that we discovered that there were three chicks, not two as we had originally thought.

At about nine weeks of age, it is increasingly difficult to confirm that there are still three as the chicks become more independent and wander around.

Nelson and Emma's three chicks are about the same age as the wild chicks and we shifted them into the release aviary when they were about 50 days old.

As chicks are received at the release aviary, we weigh and put individual coloured plastic leg bands on for quick identification,

The young chicks generally don't eat well at first and remain under cover for about 10 days.

Then they start popping their heads out from cover, looking a little like meerkats as they do so.

Moving the chicks seems to cause a lot of trauma and this must be particularly so for chicks coming to us from other breeders around the North Island.

When they settle we weigh the chicks again, measure and sex them and put a numbered metal leg band on each chick, identifying them for life.

Recently, we saw two adult birds which we had released two months previously, identifying them by their coloured leg bands.

Now that more birds are surviving in the wild, we are particularly interested to learn the colours of the bands on any birds seen and, of course, if any birds are seen without leg bands. That would mean that wild chicks are surviving and we will be well on the way to achieving our aim of establishing a new, self-sustaining population of North Island weka.