Once driven out of the area by predators, Bream Head’s bird population is back, and they’re breeding much to the delight of Bream Head Conservation Trust rangers and volunteers.
The grey-faced petrels and North Island robins haven’t been seen at the Whangarei Heads reserve for decades. Now they are not only back, they are establishing nests and producing chicks.
“A colony of self-reintroduced grey-faced petrels has been discovered in an area recently been targeted for an extensive pest eradication programme,” BHCT chief ranger Adam Willetts says.
“Six burrows were found in the same area last year, the first time the large grey sea birds, known to Maori as Oi, had established burrows naturally on the Northland mainland, but no chicks hatched due to a few remaining rats or stoats.”
However this year around 20 burrows have been found in the colony.
Willetts and the trust’s ecologist Ben Barr have checked the nests and have found at least nine live chicks.
The discovery of a North Island robin (toutouwai) sitting on a brood of chicks is equally as exciting for the group.
In April and May 40 robins from Mangatutu and Tiritiri Matangi Islands were released as part of a long-standing trust programme.The toutouwai being the first part of a translocation programme which will also see whitehead introduced in 2017.
article: Annette Lambly
photo: Bream Head Conservation Trust