My dad is a big strong bird, who goes by the name of Phantom. He lives in the Coromandel, in a place called Moehau, which is an 892-metre-high mountain at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.
At Moehau there is a beautiful kiwi sanctuary that covers 11,000 hectares of luscious land. The sanctuary is on conservation land where humans try to limit the number of kiwi predators like stoats. That’s where my story begins.
It was wintery July when my mum laid my egg in the middle of the Moehau sanctuary. Kiwi mums lay one of the largest eggs per body size! Mum laid my egg in the nest, and left the burrow for Dad to take over and keep us warm – after all, just two weeks earlier she’d laid my older sibling!
Kiwi chicks can have a hard life in the wild if humans don’t help us. We only have a 5% chance of survival because of introduced predators. That’s why some volunteers from the Moehau Sanctuary came and collected us! I remember being scooped up gently by a pair of big warm hands. The voices of humans were new to me – quiet and mellow. They placed us in a new warm burrow, and carefully drove us to Rotorua.
I was two months old in my egg when I arrived at Kiwi Encounter and was placed in their special incubator room with lots of other eggs from all over the North Island. After a week or so I was ready to start the exhausting process of hatching.
I began jiggling in my egg, which alerted the humans that I was starting my hatch. With no egg tooth, the only way out of my egg was to peck and kick my way through the shell. Hot work!
With my beak and little feet I pecked and pushed for hours, and eventually made a tiny hole I could push my beak through. I breathed air for the first time!
After that I slept to recover my strength. I spent the next five days kicking and sleeping, kicking and sleeping – my shell slowly cracking open.
And on night five, the final fragments of my egg broke loose… I was free!
A whole new world
The next couple of days, everything feels new. The humans weighed me when I hatched – I’m 296 grams – healthy but small for a brown kiwi. I’ve begun crouching and probing around my new environment with my bill.
They are also really excited by my little white feathers around one of my legs. It’s very rare for a kiwi to have white feathers, turns out I am quite special! You can call me Bloomers for now – that’s my nickname, because I look like I’m half wearing a pair of knickers… hehe!
To be continued…