Chatham Island tui, and mist nets set to catch tui on Rangatira Island (images: A. Ballance)
The endemic Chatham Island tui was once found on all the islands of the Chathams group, but these days the breeding population is largely confined to Rangatira or South East Island, with birds flying to nearby Pitt Island each winter.
The tui population on the main Chatham Island disappeared over the last 30 years, but an initiative by the Chatham Island Taiko Trust hopes to re-establish that population. The Taiko Trust carried out a trial transfer of 14 tui in 2009, the first time tui had ever been translocated, and following the success of that trial a larger translocation of 40 birds was planned for February 2010.
Alison Ballance joins Mike Bell, David Boyle, Josh Thomas and John Day on Rangatira to catch the birds, but as the Tui Team find out, getting a bird in the hand is not always an easy task.
In part 2 of this story we head to the main Chatham Island for the tui release.