Most seabirds nest right next to the ocean: on sandy beaches and rocky shores. New Zealand’s Hutton’s shearwater has its own ideas, though. It only nests in the alpine zone of the Seaward Kaikoura mountains in northeastern South Island at elevations between 1200 to 1800 m.
The birds used to have at least eight colonies on the Seaward Kaikoura and Inland Kaikoura Ranges. But predation from feral pigs which were introduced by settlers destroyed most of them. Now only two remain.
The community-based Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust has created an artificial colony protected by a predator-proof fence on Kaikoura Peninsula to increase the number of nesting sites.
photo: Dennis Buurman