We timed our walk around the Mount Bruce complex on Sunday to allow us to witness the two feeding displays on offer. The eel feeding was at 1.30pm. Now, I really do not like eels at all, they look altogether rather like snakes to me. (Luckily we do not have snakes in New Zealand). However, we stood on the bridge over the stream with all the others looking down at the eels. Those eels certainly knew that feeding time had arrived. The ranger arrived and gave her talk as she tossed tasty eel treats into the water. The eels churned the water up in a mess of writhing eel bodies as they slid over and under each other in a frenzy to get to the food. Long finned eels are endemic to New Zealand and can grow up to 2 metres in length.
Later in the afternoon a large crowd gathered in a clearing to watch the Kaka feeding. The surrounding trees were full of these noisy birds as they impatiently waited for the ranger to arrive with her bucket full of titbits. Kakas have brown/green feathers with brilliant flashes of orange and scarlet under their wings. The feeding platforms were loaded with food and drink while on the ground, then lifted up and bolted onto the stands. The birds went wild, squawking and screeching as they jostled for position on the platforms. All these birds fly free and find plenty to eat in the surrounding forest. The extra food and drink offered in the afternoons gives wonderful photo opportunities to the public, and allows the rangers to check bird numbers.
After all this frenzy, things were much quieter inside the Kiwi House. Kiwis are nocturnal birds and the Kiwi House reverses night and day to allow visitors to see them go about their evening foraging expeditions. It took a while for our eyes to adjust to the darkness, and then we saw them. A couple of kiwis poking their long beaks into the soft ground looking for insects to eat. We could not take any photos of live Kiwis in the Kiwi House due to the low level lighting so took a snap of this Kiwi who had met up with a taxidermist.
We had a wonderful day at Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre and they are to be congratulated on the wonderful work they do with endangered birds.