Worm mudcake keeps feisty old bird happy

By Sonya Bateson

She may be an old bird, but she's still feisty.

Happily munching away on a grub and worm-filled mud cake, TK the kiwi celebrated her 30th birthday with a crowd of visitors at Kiwi Encounter yesterday.

Although Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager Claire Travers didn't know how old TK, short for Te Kaha, actually was, yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of her arrival at the hatching facility.

"She would have to be at least 33, but she could be 35, or even 45 - when she came to us, TK was fully matured. She's one of those birds who are not made timid in any way by captivity, she dislikes being handled and is quite likely to attack one of us if she is displeased. I love her - she's feisty. I have great affinity for this bird, she's a character and a great bird for the public to see - she carries the conservation message well."

Ms Travers said a group of staff and members of the public were at the hatchery to help TK celebrate her birthday, sharing around cupcakes decorated with edible ants, worms, kiwis and other images.

One boy who was especially happy to be a part of the celebration was Lennox Whitiora from Hamilton, who shared his 13th birthday with the kiwi.

He helped TK blow out her candle and Ms Travers said it was a day Lennox would be unlikely to forget.

"Lennox was the candle blower-outer. He was quite chuffed with that."

TK was also treated to a special worm and grub-filled cake of mud, and was given some of her favourite locusts as a treat.

Caught in the wild in the Haupoto Reserve, TK weighed 1780g when she first arrived at Rainbow Springs. She now weighs 1926g and is on permanent display in the Kiwi Encounter nocturnal house. She was originally a captive breeding bird, but is now purely a display bird.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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