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Drought impacting Kaipara kiwi

Kiwi are finding it hard to probe for food in the current dry conditions

The Department of Conservation is issuing a public warning to be vigilant in areas of the Kaipara and Northland where kiwi inhabit.

It suspects the hot summer is hardening the ground making it difficult for kiwi to forage.

Kiwi use their bills to probe the ground for food like worms and the current drought-like conditions impact the bird’s ability to find food in their usual area and forcing them out during the day. The hard ground is particularly difficult for the young whose bills are softer than those of adults.

“Our advice to the public is to observe the kiwi from a distance and do not put any meat out because kiwi would not necessarily recognise it as food and it attracts predators,” said DOC biodiversity ranger, Cinzia Vestena.

“Kiwi get most of their moisture from food, but people who live in high-kiwi areas could leave a dish of water out or water patches of ground to create damp areas for the kiwi to feed. Dogs should be tied up at all times.

“Last time we had a long, dry spell kiwi were found in swimming pools and troughs made from baths and fish ponds and some drowned.

“An easy way to fix this is to add a plank or some bricks or rocks to low pools or troughs so kiwi can clamber out again,” she said.

Any reports of kiwi in distress should be reported to DOC on 0800 362 468.

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