When I visited New Zealand with my husband 11 years ago, I was really impressed by the bird life there. So many flightless birds! Some were very rare, and I was excited to see the Takahe and hear the story of how this bird was found when it was thought to be extinct.
However, there was one rare bird which we didn't get to see - and that's because they are only found on one island in an intense breeding program - the Kakapo.
The Kakapo was featured on an episode of the BBC program "Last Chance to See" and there was one bit in particular which was fantastic to see and that was a male Kakapo named Sirroco who tried to mate with zoologist Mark Carwadine's head! Since then, this particular kakapo has got his own facebook page, a twitter account and tours New Zealand like the celebrity that he is. Here is the footage from youtube:
There are less than 150 kakapo remaining, and one of the interesting things about these birds is that their breeding depends an the amount of rimu fruit. The magical number of fruiting trees required to trigger breeding is 11% - one year they had over 30% which meant there was a huge boost in the kakapo population!
One day I hope to be able to see a kakapo. Perhaps, I can encourage one of the kids to be a conservationist and participate in the kakapo conservation program and send me pictures of these fantastic rare and amazing birds.
You can read more about kakapo here at Kakapo recovery.