Breeding time for dotterels
Bird lovers are hoping for a repeat of the dotterel baby boom seen last year.
The breeding season for the New Zealand dotterel is under way and hopes are high for even better results this time around.
It is one of New Zealand’s rarest birds and can usually be found on sandy beaches and estuaries across Auckland including the Manukau Harbour.
Community dotterel wardens and Auckland council parks and biodiversity staff are hoping for a repeat of the 2012/13 breeding season when 82 chicks successfully fledged from 92 breeding pairs.
Auckland Council’s manager of environmental services Gael Ogilvie says last year’s greats result owed a lot to the collaborative efforts of council and community groups.
‘‘In the previous year we had 51 chicks from 74 breeding pairs, so we are looking at a 20 per cent increase which is fantastic news,’’ she says.
‘‘Programmes such as this are a credit to the community dotterel wardens and employees who work hard during the breeding season to keep nesting birds safe.’’
Dotterels lay two to three eggs in a scrape in the sand amongst seaweed and driftwood just above the high tide mark.
As with many ground nesting birds they face a number of threats. Human disturbance of nests and predators such as dogs, cats, stoats, and hedgehogs pose the greatest risk to their breeding success.
The public can help protect the birds by keeping dogs on leashes and not taking vehicles on to beaches where dotterels nest.