Once thought to be extinct, New Zealand’s rare kākāriki karaka bird just had an epic breeding season that’s giving animals lovers around the world some hope for the planet’s wildlife.
This year, the Department of Conservation (DOC) found 31 orange-fronted parakeet nests in the forests of Canterbury on the South Island, which is over three times as many nests as in recent years. The kākāriki karaka birds have just had their best breeding season in decades, with 150 chicks born in the wild. This epic birth boom is estimated to double the population the rare bird that was once ubiquitous across New Zealand.
The DOC attributes this population boom to an abundance of beech seeds, which comprised a large part of the birds’ diet this year. Rats, feral cats, and stoats also feed on beech seeds, however, and the department has vowed to focus on protecting the orange-fronted parakeets from these predators.