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.


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