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Seven Black Robins Television – 1980 Nature Documentary

Seven Black Robins

Television – 1980 Nature Documentary

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By 1976 there were only seven Chatham Islands' black robins left. It was the world's rarest bird. In a bid to save the species, the surviving birds are taken from one island to another more hospitable island in a desperate rescue mission. This is part of an incredible conservation success story led by Don Merton and a NZ Wildlife Service team. Along with Black Robin, and The Robin's Return this documentary was one of the acclaimed Wild South series of 'rare bird' documentaries, upon which the formation of TVNZ's Natural History Unit was based.

When we filmed that very first robin being released there was just the sound man [Merv Aitchison] and myself, Brian Bell (the leader of the expedition) and Tony Billing (a Wildlife Service trainee). We saw the box lid open and the little bird flew out. Tony stood back and said, "Oh! Corker! Corker! Corker!"
– Paul Donovan, cameraman