Magical Parrot Meetings
The rangers and scientists of the Kakapo Recovery program on Codfish Island are slowly but surely succeeding in their mission to “make more kakapo” by micromanaging the birds’ diet, mating, births, and fledging — an obsessive project that requires volunteer support from December through May. AFAR Magazine writer Ethan Todras-Whitehill spent 10 days on the island in the Whenua Hou Nature Reserve “keeping pace with Errol Nye, the preserve’s head ranger, and Doug Barlow, my New Zealand co-volunteer.” “What do you do when you’re suddenly confronted with one of the rarest and, heck, cutest birds in creation? If you’re Doug and me, you stroke his soft feathers and bristly whiskers, and admire his plumage. You snap your camera constantly. The meeting was magical.” Kakapo Recovery volunteers can help prepare food, distribute seeds and pellets to the kakapo; mind nests; or cook for staff and volunteers. There are currently fewer than 150 kakapo on the planet.