15 Jul 2010

Kiwi that survived being hit by car set free again

8:00 pm on 15 July 2010

A Northland driver who hit a kiwi - then saved its life - says there's a lesson in the accident for other motorists.

Amanda Jones was in the crowd that watched the kiwi released into the wild again, north of Whangarei, on Thursday.

The female bird, known as Dark Star, has spent the last two months recovering from a broken foot at Auckland Zoo, after being hit by Mrs Jones's car north of Whangarei in May.

Mrs Jones says she mistook the bird for a possum and drove straight for it, but swerved at the last minute when she realised it was a kiwi.

She says she is glad she sought immediate help at the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre - and is greatly relieved that Dark Star survived.

Part of Nest Egg programme

Dark Star was hatched at Auckland Zoo in 2007 as part of the BNZ Operation Nest Egg programme and then released in the north.

Mike Camm, on whose land at Ngunguru she was released, says few kiwis survive such a crash but that in this case the driver's skill in taking evasive action saved the bird's life.

Mrs Jones says that a kiwi on the road with its beak down and tail up can look very much like a possum, and she hopes other Northland drivers can avoid her experience.