Over the last five to six years there has been a flock of kaka hanging out around the Colombo Road/Victoria Avenue area of Waiuku.
They are large green parrots that are often heard before they are seen.
They have a very loud raucous, screeching call, especially when in flight or when they are disturbed.
They have veracious appetites and fruit trees and flowering shrubs are no match for their long hooked beaks. These are tools especially designed for opening nuts and ripping into bark and wood in search of grubs. They also use their bill as a third leg to assist them when climbing trees to reach food. kaka also have a brush tongue to take nectar from flowers.
A group of kaka could strip a fruit tree in a matter of hours and not even leave a stone as evidence!
They are mainly out and about during the day but are active at night during fine weather or a full moon.
Flocks often gather in the early morning and late evening to socialise and feed. Their strong bill can open the tough cone of the kauri to obtain seeds. They make extensive use of their feet to hold food and to hang from branches to reach fruit and flowers. They play an important role in the forest by pollinating flowers.
Kaka nest in holes in trees and the eggs take three weeks to incubate with babies remaining in the nest for two months. Young birds often leave the nest before they can fly, making them vulnerable to predators such as stoats and cats.
They are considered to be very vulnerable and are regarded as a highly protected species
They have been in the Waitakare bush for a few years and have crossed the Manukau Harbour to Awhitu. They are now making their way slowly down the peninsula and are seen in flocks or as single birds in and around Waiuku.
When we stayed in Wellington last year we had a cottage not far from the Zealandia Nature Reserve and the kaka visited the old fruit trees in our back garden every morning and evening. Their calls woke us a daybreak every day we were there. There is a website called kakawatchnz.org that is recording sightings. All the sightings are acknowledged and then entered into a database.