Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mt Hector, to the north, from Wellington.

And to the south, over Cook Straight, even bigger peaks.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Kiwi Radio - Here's your chance to check out a New Zealand-made radio documentary, co-produced by yours truly. It's about releasing captive-bred kiwi birds into the wild in an area where they have been extinct for several hundred years.

It aired today on Radio New Zealand's National Radio. It should be up on the Spectrum archive page soon. Look for the June 18th programme to appear there at the top of the list.

You won't hear me presenting the programme, so you may be wondering what I did to earn that co-producer credit? I got invited along for the field recording, on the hike into the Rimutaka Range, shadowing Jack Perkins who is one of Radio New Zealand's most veteran producers. He's been making documentaries here for over 30 years. I gave feedback throughout the editing process and contributed some of the tape I recorded in the field to help pull together the final piece. It was a great experience. Listen carefully for 3 cameo appearances from me throughout the piece (who do you suppose that girl from Minnesota is?)

Happy listening!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Endangered sounds of New Zealand


The kokako is the most endangered of New Zealand's two remaining endemic wattlebirds. Wattles are brightly coloured fleshy appendages on the throat or cheeks. Part of the reason Kokakos are so intriguing is their loud, melodious song which is said to be one of purest tones in nature. Each pair sing their own distinctive duet for half an hour at dawn.
Click here to listen to a recording of the Kokako


The kiwi is the closest thing to a mammal in the bird world. The kiwi's blood temperature is nearly the same as a mammal, about 2 degrees centigrade lower than other birds. And it has bone marrow, instead of air as in the bones of a bird.

Kiwis have large ear openings, long whiskers, and plumage more like hair than feathers - all physical characteristics of most mammals.

With strong stout legs and claws that are 30 percent of its' body weight, the kiwi is a powerful runner, fighter and swimmer.

The kiwi also has a keen sense of smell. It's the only bird with nostrils located at the end of its beak. Kiwis forage for insects at night by plunging their beaks into the earth and sniffing them out.

This is an excellent description of Kiwis, well worth a quick read. These funny looking birds grow dearer to us every day.

Click on the image above to get a better picture.

Click to hear a kiwi