Kiwis and Takahes: No Flights in or Out

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The words bird and flight are synonymous. It’s easy to imagine a flock soaring above and crisscrossing the sky at will before descending en masse. All without the need to radio for permission from air traffic control.

However, there are about 60 species of birds who will never fly with their mates. It’s not because they don’t have wings. They do. Yet, since they lived in remote places, not subjected to predators (until humans arrived), they never developed the need or ability to fly.

New Zealand is home to several flightless birds, including her national symbol the kiwi. A similar bird many thought was extinct was the colorful and somewhat comical takahē with its scarlet beak, amethyst head and bulbous blue body. Luckily, a handful were found in 1948 wandering around a fiordland valley. Conservation efforts such as establishing the bird sanctuary adjacent to Lake Te Anau have helped increase their numbers. A walk around this small reserve gave us hope for this little guy and his friends.