Breed­ing time for dot­terels

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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