When you are requested by The Department of Conservation to take responsibility for the raising of the first South Island Falcon (Karearea) ever to be bred in captivity, it is both an honour and a task to take seriously.
Ever since Gareth flew up to Rotarua, where Wingspan incubated the egg, then returned with a small box securely belted into the seat next to him (Falcons fly in the cabin and free of charge, courtesy of Air New Zealand’s support for the project. Don’t even ask if they get frequent flyer cards!) we have been carefully supplying a diet of day old chicks and netted wild birds, and keeping our distance.
Finally, as she approaches 40 days old, we open the door to her home to allow her to take her first look at the world. For a day and a half, she has been standing, watching everything intently, while she prepares for the step into the unknown. Once she flies, she will probably never return to that home, but hopefully will stay close by; we’ll track her daily by transmitter, and see that she is safely roosted at night.
Hopefully she’ll stay to be part of the team.