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Distressing evening leaves us deflated

The aviary was recently visited on two consecutive days by large groups from Auckland, a Forest and Bird group and a group from the Auckland Institute of Technology.

Each group brought with them several large containers of fat, juicy snails, which the weka really appreciated, hammering the shells open with their beaks and extricating the meat.

Our own garden seems to be without snails, slugs and other "nasties", no doubt due to the presence of wekas and other birds, which are plentiful.

The blackbirds, etc. are being a bit of a nuisance impersonating the weka calls — they don't fool the wekas, but they do confuse us at times.

The last bird that we released with a radio, Lily, paired with Archy but we fear that she was killed.

We found the radio and Archy reverted to his bachelor habits, attempting to develop a relationship with the latest bird we put with Tarzan, Belinda.

He would try to tempt her through the netting with food.

A couple of evenings ago we went to feed Tarzan and Belinda and noticed that they'd not touched their previous bowl of food.

A search through the aviary revealed that Tarzan had died, trapped in a spot he'd obviously been unable to extricate himself from due to his crippled leg. It was a distressing find.

A further search for Belinda revealed absolutely no sign of her but as we were giving up the search we noticed a large hole through the galvanised netting through which she must have escaped.

Perhaps Archy has kidnapped her? Just what has made this hole, and similar ones we have found in the netting in another aviary has us completely mystified.

Two disasters in one evening left us feeling rather deflated.