A kiwi drowning in a water trough is among many sightings of the usually nocturnal bird in Northland, driven into open areas during the day due to the dry spell.
Kiwi Coast, which helps co-ordinate and enable over 130 community-led projects so Northland's wild kiwi can roam freely, has received an increased number of reports of kiwi being out and about during the day in November and this month.
It said the dry and hard ground could make it difficult for kiwi to get a decent feed and that could lead them into trouble as they searched for food and water.
The kiwi that drowned in a water trough at Whangārei Heads was an example of the difficulty in obtaining food in the present weather conditions, Backyard Kiwi project said.
"Kiwi can swim but not well and they cannot climb up slippery, smooth surfaces. It's important to keep kiwi safe from water hazards by giving them an escape route so they can climb out," the project's Todd Hamilton said.
Puketotara Landcare named a kiwi seen within their project area during the day in November as "Magic".
Kiwi Coast Far North co-ordinator Lesley Baigent said kiwis have been found sleeping or wandering in the middle of paddocks during the day where they were at risk from dogs, hawks, cats and mustelids as well as starvation and dehydration. They have been found on people's lawns, gardens, in ponds and pools, he said.
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"With increased daytime sightings of kiwi, we need to work extra hard to keep them safe from pets, ensure all possum traps are raised 750mm off the ground, and water troughs have escape routes."
Last month, a kiwi was discovered in a hotel room at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in Waitangi.
Kiwi mainly eat insects and although some are on the surface in the leaf litter, many are underground and kiwi need to excavate them out with their bill.
In soft moist soil this is no problem but Northland's summer soil is not only incredibly hard but the invertebrates are usually heading deeper into the substrate to keep cool and moist.
The bill of a kiwi is designed to probe into the soil where they can smell and feel vibrations made by their prey. Adult females have a 30 per cent longer bill than the males and so can reach deeper to get at food others cannot reach but even they struggle in the dry.
If you see kiwi out during the day and are concerned, please call DoC for advice (o8ooDOCHOT), local Kiwi Coast co-ordinator.
Injured or stressed kiwi can also be referred to the rehabilitation facility at the Whangārei Native Bird Recovery Centre for rehydration, feeding and then release into a safe area once they have recovered.