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Takahe: Bird of Dreams

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Alison Ballance
May 2023
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Takahe are 'strange and wonderful avian beasts', big purple-blue birds with a striking red beak and legs. Once thought extinct, they were famously rediscovered in 1946 by Invercargill doctor Geoffrey Orbell, who found a small population living in a remote valley in the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland. In this book Alison Ballance charts the history of the Takahe Recovery Programme, the longest-running species conservation programme in New Zealand, and perhaps even in the world. After many set-backs, and decades when those dedicated to saving the bird struggled to get the population to grow, they have in recent years managed to build up a healthy population, which will pass 500 birds in 2023. Full of fascinating stories about the biology and lifestyle of this delightful bird, summed up 'as a food-obsessed, serially monogamous (mostly) devoted partner and parent, whose teenage kids stick around to help raise their younger siblings', this beautiful illustrated and inspiring book will appeal to anyone with an interest in ornithology and the natural world of New Zealand.