Fri 24: Takahē

Once thought extinct, takahē have endured a lockdown to protect them—just like us!

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • Did you know that takahē were thought to be extinct, until they were discovered in the Murchison mountains in 1948? How do you think people reacted when takahē were discovered? Do you think they were surprised by the takahē in any way when they saw it for the first time?
  • What kind of qualities and skills would a takahē ranger need to have? Does it sound like a job you would find interesting or enjoyable?
  • When the female takahē Pipper dies, the rangers find her “teenage” chick incubating the eggs in their mother’s absence. What do you think of this arrangement of having older chicks helping with the eggs and newborns? Is it a common arrangement in the animal world?
  • Takahē produce grassy poos—nine metres of them every day. They make all that poo by nibbling through the stalks of tussock, only eating the sweet base of the stalks and leaving the rest “felled” on the ground. What might rangers look for to figure out where the birds are hiding?
  • There are 375 takahē left: conservationists hope that number will increase. Do you think it is a good idea to try to ensure takahē are found all over the South Island once more? Do you think it is a realistic goal or not? What would need to happen to make this dream a reality?

Task—Make a pompom takahē chick

Takahē chicks are actually black, but use any coloured wool or string that you have at home to make this cute baby takahē.

  1. Take a fork from the cutlery drawer. Drape a piece of wool (around 15cm long) between the two middle prongs, so that half dangles down the front of the fork and half dangles down the back.
  2. Hold this wool in place with your non-dominant hand while you wind a new length of wool about 35 times around the fork-head.
  3. Bring the ends of the dangling 15cm piece of wool together and tie a knot as tightly as you can in the middle of the fork-head, making a sort of bow-tie shape out of the wool you have wound.
  4. Slip it all off the fork. Now carefully cut the wool on either side of the “bow tie.” Fluff up your pompom and trim any straggly bits. This is the body of your chick.
  5. Make another one (make it smaller than the first one if you can by using a children’s fork, as this pompom will be the head.) Glue this smaller pompom onto the larger pompom.
  6. Cut two lengths of pipe-cleaner or another wire to about 4cm. Weave these through the binding loop of the big pompom and shape them into feet. You could also make paper or cardboard feet.
  7. Add some facial features. Use felts or permanent markers to make a face and beak, or glue on beads or googly eyes if you have them.

Send us a picture of your pompom takahē chick!