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Birds of the Water Wood & Waste

The Weka

The Weka.

Previous to 1914 there were grounds for belief that the Wekas of Tutira were being drawn away in a northerly migration; at any rate, upon my return after the war not a bird remained. Twice since 1919 pairs have been liberated on Tutira, but these also have disappeared. They were set free in admirable covert, but never once has the wild ringing curlew call of the bird been heard; however, late in the day they, too, may have hurried northwards to join their fellows, now plentiful in Poverty Bay where thirty years ago the species was unknown. Nevertheless, although thus temporarily lost, some future migration may again include Tutira in its page 17 spread. It must, however, be taken into account that during each successive pilgrimage the numbers of these travelling hordes will decrease, it must happen that in their treks areas are traversed from which forest fern and scrub have been clean wiped away. The Weka's itinerary must furthermore include closely settled districts where, regardless of their prior claim as indigines, the luckless birds are pelted by boys, chased by dogs, hunted by poultry keepers and gardeners, and regarded generally as a nuisance. Allusion has elsewhere been made to the extraordinary number of Wekas on the Te Anau-Milford track in Westland during January of 1914. I was there again during the same month seven years later; then, except for a pair or two of semi-domesticated birds, not a Weka was visible. I may add, whilst on this subject, that another Weka migration is in progress at the present date—1926—along the east coast of the south island between Takaka and Collingwood.