2013 May

Media Release – April (this translocation was cancelled)

Seabirds wing their way back to Hawke’s Bay

Monday will see 100 mottled petrel seabird chicks winging their way to Hawke’s Bay utilising human air travel instead of bird power.  50 birds will be transported toCapeSanctuaryand the remaining 50 toBoundaryStreamMainlandIsland.  The mottled petrel complements the 50 Cook’s petrel seabirds that arrived last month and made Boundary Stream home.

These seabirds once flourished, nesting in the hills surrounding the coast.  Due to habitat destruction and predators, they have been reduced to only a few locations nationwide.  Monday 11 April, the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project andCapeSanctuarywill be relocating these culturally significant birds from Whenua Hou (CodfishIsland), west ofStewart Island.

Mottled petrel were once common in Hawke’s Bay.  After spending years out at sea, these seabirds would only come in to land to nest.  As chicks, they take a mental picture of their nest site and after wandering many thousands of kilometres around thePacific Oceanfor 4 – 5 years, will return to the same site when ready to nest.

A highly developed sense of smell enables them to locate food and nest sites at night.  They feed on fish and squid with occasional crustaceans.  When nesting and rearing their young, these seabirds bring valuable marine nutrients into our native bush, enriching the forest floor.

This translocation is yet another milestone for the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project building on recent bird relocation successes.  The success of the relocations can be attributed to the continued collaboration between the Department of Conservation andCapeSanctuary.



Media Release – March 2013

The sound of beating wings returns to Hawke’s Bay.

Hawke’s Bay residents can now look forward to the return of a once common sight; that of the Cook’s petrel flying overhead. Many years ago these sea birds flourished, nesting high in the mountain ranges surrounding the coast. Each day millions of these birds would fly to the coast to feed, returning on mass each night.

“Cooks petrel have been reduced to only a few locations nation-wide” said Ken Hunt, Project Manager for Poutiri Ao ō Tāne, “due to predators and habitat destruction. Their demise has had flow on effects that most people forget about. On their travels to and from the coast these birds add valuable marine nutrients to our native bush, enriching the forest floor with guano”.

On Monday, 11th March 2013, Department of Conservation staff will transfer 50 Cooks petrel from Little Barrier Island to a specially built predator proof enclosure high on theMaungaharuruRange, 60 kms north of Napier.CapeSanctuary will be undertaking a similar transfer on the same day.

The relocation of the Cook’s petrel builds on the innovative work already undertaken byCapeSanctuaryover the last four years and more recently bird relocations for the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project. To date, the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project has successfully transferred 29 Yellow-crowned Kakariki birds fromManaIslandand 6 Kaka (bush parrot) from Mount Bruce Reserve and Wellington Zoo.

One aim of the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project is to boost native flora and fauna not only in protected habitats and native bush, but also within the agricultural, forestry and urban landscape. Ultimately the goal is to see these rare native species thriving in local backyards.

To catch a glimpse of these birds first hand, follow the project on Facebook.

To find out about the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project or if interested in volunteering, visit the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne website www.poutiri.co.nz or call the Department of Conservation office on (06) 834 3111.



Media Release – February 2013


Local DOC ranger, Helen Jonas had the privilege to spend a week on Little Barrier Island, with volunteer Kathy Mitchell (a vet from Whangarei), to check on the Cooks Petrel Chicks. 

 150 chicks are to be translocated from Little Barrier Island to two projects in Hawke’s Bay, theCapeSanctuary(atCapeKidnappers) and the Poutiri O Tane project (at Boundary Stream).  The long term goal is to establish sustainable populations of Cooks Petrel on the Hawke’s Bay mainland.  Presently Cooks petrel only breed on Hauturu (Little Barrier Island), there is a small population onGreatBarrierIsland, and a population onCodfishIsland(down nearStewart Island).  The population is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.  The birds forage along the east coast, so breeding in Hawke’s Bay shouldn’t be too far out of there way. After the breeding season ends they departNew Zealand’s shores to the eastern pacific ocean, with some travelling as far as the gulf of Alaska..

The purpose of the trip was to check on what stage the chicks were at – we checked already known burrows, weighing the chick and measuring its wing length.  This aids in determining what time to translocate them.  If we get the bird too early, there is too much work at the Hawke’s Bay end in keeping them fed.  If we get the birds too late they may not have enough time to imprint with the site, and thus return to it when they are matured and ready for breeding in several years.  It is believed the imprinting occurs in the final days before they fledge, when they are emerging from there burrows.  The chicks are due to be collected in March.

When the actual translocation takes place Kathy will be supervising the hydration and feeding of the chicks when they arrive in Hawke’s Bay.  More information about the Poutiri project can be found on the website www. poutiri.co.nz

The coming translocation will be the fourth for theCapeSanctuary, and the first for the Poutiri Ao o Tane project.  Both projects have artificial burrows already made in a predator proof area and this is where the chicks are placed after they were flown by helicopter directly from theIsland.  When the chicks fledge they won’t return to these burrows until they are ready to breed – in approximately 3 – 5 years time. TheCapeSanctuaryare expecting their first birds to start returning for breeding this coming winter.





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