National Geographic : 1952 Mar
395 A Young Takahe Is All Legs, Beak, and Fight J. II. Sorensen This three-day-old chick is the first youngster of its kind known to have been seen by white men. The camera caught it in a quiet moment. Most of the time the captive struggled violently, inflicting painful pecks. White flecks are wing tip and spur. Age will replace black down with brilliant plumage (pages 393, 396). beaches below the bushline in winters with heavy snowfalls. Dr. Orbell also heard of a lake, seen from the air, that was unmarked on his maps. Maori history suggested its existence and whereabouts. Kohaka-takahea, "nesting place of the wanderer," the Maoris called the lake. Maori tradition also held that the bird once was plentiful in certain areas, particu larly along the shores of Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau, both large glacial lakes on the eastern fringe of the heavily forested and mountainous Fiordland.* The natives, so the story went, had made annual drives to capture the birds for food when the snows of winter drove the takahe from the mountains. It was in April, 1948, that Dr. Orbell and two friends first made their way into the promising area. Reaching a ridgetop, they found themselves on the edge of a lofty preci pice. Far below a lake glistened in the sun light. Beyond the lake a valley extended for several miles, deep among the peaks. Notes Heard, Footprints Found There was little time to spend in the valley before turning back to camp, but it was long enough for Dr. Orbell to hear an unknown birdcall-two long, deep notes repeated twice -and to see large prints at the lower end of * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "New Zealand 'Down Under,' " by W. Robert Moore, February, 1936; and "The Making of an Anzac," by Howell Walker, April, 1942.