Today we’re taking you to ckeck out New Zealand’s most endangered birds and that’s not the kiwi bird.
Today we are leaving our accommodation which is the Planet Backpackers in Rotorua but we’ll get to that in part 2 of this awesome episode. Our activity number one for today is Wingspan which is a national bird of prey centre in New Zealand.
Wingspan is only about 15 minutes away from Rotorua city centre and it’s basically a place where New Zealand birds of prey are brought into when they’re injured for rehabilitation and then released back into the wild when they are at full health. Also a few birds are kept here for breeding programs so they can boost more populations back in the wild.
the first bird that we get to check out is the morepork or ruru in maori. It’s a really cute bird although when it looks straight at the camera it definitely looks like your drunk uncle at the wedding making inappropriate jokes. Look at that. Aside from that the ruru is actually a really exceptional owl it’s actually the smallest owl that can be found in New Zealand and can fit in the palm of your hand.
And on top of that it’s actually the only real native owl in New Zealand. But moving on we are gonna check out some other rare native birds of New Zealand.
The rarest bird of prey that we’re gonna be seeing today is the New Zealand falcon and it’s one of only 4 forest falcons in the whole world and it’s amazing to get this close to it. It’s such a beautiful bird.
Next to each one of the aviaries is a little information sign outlining some details of the birds that we’re seeing and why they’re here for instance the bird that we’re looking at right now was found as a chick abandoned in someone’s garden so they brought it here to the national birds of prey centre to be rehabilitated.
After seeing the rarest bird of prey in New Zealand we move onto seeing some of the more common birds of prey for instance like the swamp harrier which are seen quite a lot on New Zealand roads often feeding on roadkill and we’ve definitely seen quite a few while road tripping around.
One thing that really surprises us though is just how close we can get to these birds without them really being affected by our presence. They’re not scared of us whatsoever and that’s mainly because native New Zealand wildlife has evolved without humans being around so they don’t really see us as a threat. But for us that means that we can amazing viewings of them and watch their behaviour.
I am super impressed by how much we get to see. usually, even when you go to zoos which are designed for you to see the animal and not for their well-being you get to see only glimpses of those kind of birds but in this aviary because it’s completely designed around the birds behaviour and needs we get to see them behave so much. I really love it.
We just get the time to check another owl which also looks like my drunk uncle before checking out the mini museum that is in the national birds of prey centre. There is a lot about falconry because that is really why this centre was created at the beginning.
And speaking of falconry, at 2pm every day there is the flying show this is when the staff from the aviary is actually gonna show us what those birds of prey are capable of and also give them a little bit of exercise.
Flying is all part of the rehabilitation process here at the National Birds of Prey Centre and it is great opportunity for us to see these birds in action. We are meeting Heidi who is the trainer and the New Zealand falcon is called Hisan and he is getting trained to catch some food off a lure so he can practice his hunting techniques.
It’s incredible to see how fast these birds can fly we can barely keep up with them. And actually New Zealand falcons can fly faster than a V8 supercar. See I did read a few facts in the mini museum.
So anyway, we’re watching Heidi with the lure trying to get Hisan to capture the food on the end and if he succeeds to do that five times in the row he’s getting close to be able to be released back into the wild. And Heidi’s telling us that he’s definitely getting to that stage.
It’s really amazing to see Hisan behaving like he would in the wild. We really never get a chance to see those birds of prey hunt for eyes they usually do that when no one is around and Heidi is really challenging Hisan today because he’s getting a much better. So she’s moving the lure even faster making it harder for Hisan to catch the prey but honestly he’s doing really amazing he only misses about a couple of times.
Hisan is a New Zealand falcon or karearea in Maori and this very type of bird is the reason why the New Zealand birds of prey centre was created because it’s actually the rarest bird in New Zealand much rarer than the Kiwi bird. But all hope is not lost Hisan is doing really good today and that means that he’s only weeks away before being released in the wold making it one more alpha male working hard into creating more New Zealand falcons in the wild and increasing their populations.
For a real treat at the end of the show we actually get to put on one of these falconry gloves just like the one that’s Heidi’s wearing and we get to handle Hisan. This is amazing to get a super up-close look at this beautiful bird of prey along with his really beautiful feathers and his huge eyes for spotting prey. This is an amazing way to end our time at Wingspan and move onto our next activity of the day.
Next on Day 290 part 2 we are taking you to the largest free geothermal park in the whole country. It’s right in the city centre of Rotorua and it’s called Kuirau Park. There we’re gonna see some steaming waters some bubbling mud some small geysers it’s an absolute amazing place to visit. And if you guys don’t want to miss a single one of our adventure make sure to hit that subscribe button we are getting so close to the day 300. Can you believe that we’ve already done 300 days on the road and there is much more to come as we keep on exploring the North Island of New Zealand showing you a new activity every single day of the week.
My eyebrows are an endangered bird. Look at it flying away. Look at them flying away my eyebrows. Woo woo. Anyway.