Kākā chicks world famous

7 October 2015

A recently launched “kākā cam” has captured viewers’ hearts and screens worldwide. The live stream of a young family of native kākā parrots has been viewed all over the world, from the United States to Russia, with over 10,000 views to date and an average viewing time of 18 minutes.

"Kaka cam" Kaka mother in tree

The endangered kākā is now a common sight in many parts of Wellington since being reintroduced to Zealandia. However, they do not fare well outside the sanctuary due to a lack of mature trees with suitable nesting cavities, and attacks by predators like stoats and rats.

To combat this problem, Wellington City Council has worked with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and local ecological restoration groups to install six predator-proof nest boxes to give kākā a chance to breed in our native forest reserves from Karori to Tawa.

“We are lucky to have kākā wild in our city. The kākā cam predator-proof nest box is a stone’s throw away from Wellingtonians’ backyards, placed in a secret location in one of our small urban reserves,” says Tim Park, the Council’s Environment Partnership Leader.

“The nest box was designed by DOC to give nesting kākā a chance to breed successfully beyond Zealandia. The boxes were built by volunteers from Kapiti Menzshed using materials provided at low cost from Hynds.

When they leave the nest during their fledgling stage, kākā spend a lot of time on the ground, so they’re vulnerable to off-leash dogs and wandering cats. Please help keep kākā safe by being a responsible pet owner and keeping your dog on a lead when visiting our reserves.

The Council’s Natural Environment Portfolio leader, Councillor Helene Ritchie, is impressed by the kākā cam.

“I was thrilled to see these precious little baby birds! It is quite amazing to look right into their nest live-streamed as they explore their newly hatched existence.

“It’s great to see so many people interested in our native forest parrot. The location of the nest is very special and we need to take extra care as pet owners to ensure the chicks fledge successfully and are able to start families of their own one day,” she says.

For those with questions to ask, a live chat with Council Ranger Matt and DOC Ranger Angus will be open to viewers’ questions on the YouTube live feed this Friday 9 October from 12 noon to 1pm.

Want to visit the kākā cam family at their secret location? Enter the competition to name the mother or guess the date the first of the five fluffy chicks will leave the nest and be in to win a guided visit to the secret nest box location with Council park ranger Matt Robertson.

Thanks to the Morgan Foundation’s Enhancing the Halo Project for their support.