BNZ Operation Nest Egg
"Operation Nest Egg, or O.N.E"
The primary objective of Project Kiwi Trust is to enhance and protect the kiwi population and continue to restore the ecosystem on the Kuaotunu Peninsula or in such other areas as the trustees may think fit. At the moment, Project Kiwi Trustees invest in BNZ Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E) and value it as an effective method for enhancing the kiwi population on the Kuaotunu Peninsula.
In a nutshell, the BNZ O.N.E. programme involves the transfer of eggs and chicks from where they live into a predator-free environment where they are incubated, hatched and reared. Once they reach 850 grams they are deemed big enough to fight off predators and are returned to their home.
Kuoatunu Kiwi come home to Kuaotunu.
Click on the link below to view a story from Campbell Live showing Project Kiwi Trust and BNZ Operation Nest Egg in action.
What Does BNZ O.N.E. Involve?
Currently, Project Kiwi Trust has nine adult kiwi males that it monitors. Each kiwi has a transmitter attached that has its own frequency. The transmitter feeds back information to Jon, the kiwi manager, through an aerial in a series of beeps. This information tells him, amongst other things, whether or not a bird is incubating eggs and for how long he has been incubating the eggs.
Eggs? Yes, generally in each clutch there are two eggs. With each egg being about six times the size of a hen's egg, we completely understand why the female kiwi leaves the role of incubation to the male kiwi!
Jon completes a weekly transmitter check on each kiwi and plans to do his egg lift between 65 and 72 days of incubation. This is how long the older of the two eggs has been incubated and means that the younger of the two eggs is more than 30 days old.
The day before he intends on doing an egg-lift, Jon uses the aerial to pick up the transmitter on the kiwi to get a precise location of the nest.
On the night of the egg-lift, Jon waits for the aerial to feed information back to him about when the male kiwi has left his nest.
And he waits....
and when the male leaves his nest to go and feed, sometimes early in the night, sometimes early in the morning, Jon carefully approaches the nest and tenderly removes the first egg.
He checks the egg for major cracks and smells it to ensure it is not rotten. He then lightly shines a torch through the shell to check the state of the embryo and the size and location of the air cell. This is called candling. The egg is then cradled in a foam bed and kept warm with a hot water bottle.
This process is repeated for the second egg and both eggs are then transported to Claire and the team at Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua.
At Kiwi Encounter they are washed and checked, and then incubated, hatched and reared.
When a Kiwi reaches 850 grams, Jon picks them up and they are returned to the Kuaotunu Peninsula.
Why Are Egg-Lifts Conducted At Night?
Egg-lifts are conducted at night as this is when a male kiwi leaves the nest and feeds. If a male kiwi was inside his burrow when an egg-lift was to take place, there is a risk that he may damage his eggs while defending his nest.
At the conclucion of the 2009 - 2010 breeding season, eight eggs and three chicks had been delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs. Of those delivered, all eggs were viable and all chicks survived. All juvenile kiwi have been returned to the Kuoatunu Peninsula for this season.
For more information on BNZ Operation Nest Egg and Kiwi Encounter click on the links below.