Day 5 on Anchor Island. 28th December 2009. My first kakapo capture!

Enticed Rooster away from the hut this morning with macadamias and changed his hopper. Sassquatch was released at Western Loop (he had had a nematode infection and had been kept in a pen for about a month (generally they carry nematodes anyway, but Sass had more than normal, probably just because he’s getting old and immune system isn’t in good nick, he’s only 1.68 kg, though having said that, it’s the heaviest he’s been since coming to Anchor). Today I helped catch Tacker (one of last year’s chicks) to give her the once over and make sure she’s healthy. The guys have been training me in telemetry and left most of the tracking to me. We closed in on her and Tim caught her after a short sprint, then Steve and I checked her mouth, tongue, ears, wings back and bum for infection – not a thing, she was a picture of health and weighed in at 1.5kg which is great. The dental nurse in me came out again and as she was enduring her check up, I could see (and hear) that she wasn’t at all happy about it and was clenching her massive claws tight in anticipation. We weren’t going to hurt her, but she didn’t know that, so I let her hold on to my hands like I used to do with worried patients in the dental chair. She clutched on tight and wrapped her toes around my fingers – I do actually think it really helped to calm her down! I then released her and off she went. Like all the other chicks, she gets monthly health checks, whilst the adults are only checked over once or twice a year. While the guys went up to the summit to capture Basil for his health check, I came back to the hut and rustled up shepherd’s pie, peas and carrots for dinner. Basil is looking good at 2.3kg and, unlike Tacker, was wonderfully relaxed and well-behaved for the boys when being handled. We then had strawberries and cream and a glass of wine after dinner. Was a quiet evening after the previous night’s impromptu drinking session. Tim made real mince pies with a mincer. Watched a great western movie with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’. It was at this point we heard Rooster jump on to the deck outside the hut with an almighty thud to join us again, but tonight we ignored him because he needs to learn to be wild and not end up being the Sirocco of Anchor (Sirocco is an overly friendly, confused kakapo who had been mis-treated and kept in a box in isolation when he was young. He was rescued he was hand-raised back to health but now he doesn’t know how to behave around other kakapo, and doesn’t even recognise himself as a kakapo, but prefers the company of humans).

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