It is an unlikely partnership – the predatory New Zealand falcon and the endangered mohua – but they are thriving side by side.
The falcon, a species in gradual decline, and the mohua (yellowhead) are benefiting from a predator control programme in the Catlins River Walk area of the Catlins Forest Park in Southland.
It has not been an easy road for either species, something this reporter and photographer can appreciate after a trek to their home territory last week. Accompanied by Department of Conservation ranger Graeme Loh, the promised 1km walk turned into a four-hour hike – and there were no birds to be found.
However, just as we began the walk home, we heard a falcon’s angry chatter – protesting at strangers in its territory – and experienced its dive bombing skills first-hand.
Mr Loh said the increase in falcons in the area seemed to be the by-product of increased predator control.