Cy­clone Gita blows in frigate­bird

Western Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DANIELLE CLENT

Not only did Cy­clone Gita leave de­struc­tion as it passed through New Zealand, it also left be­hind a rare bird.

Green Bay NZ Bird Res­cue Cen­tre is cur­rently re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing a young lesser frigate­bird.

Trustee Miriam Whe­lan said the bird was usu­ally found in places with warmer cli­mates such as Fiji and Tahiti.

‘‘There’s been very, very few sight­ings ever in New Zealand,’’ Whe­lan said.

‘‘We think it was prob­a­bly Cy­clone Gita that brought it in.’’

Whe­lan said the frigate­bird was found in a re­mote lo­ca­tion on Muri­wai Beach about two weeks ago.

She said it was ‘‘se­verely un­der­weight’’ at 469 grams.

‘‘It prob­a­bly wouldn’t have sur­vived much longer with­out food,’’ Whe­lan said.

‘‘They get to a point where they don’t have enough en­ergy to get up.’’

The bird now weighed 815g. Staff at the cen­tre first thought it was a gan­net un­til man­agers did some re­search and re­alised it was a frigate­bird.

The De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Auck­land Mu­seum vis­ited on March 13 to con­firm the type of bird.

New Zealand Birds On­line said lesser frigate­birds were ‘‘dis­tinc­tive’’ trop­i­cal seabirds that only oc­ca­sion­ally reached New Zealand.

SUP­PLIED

The lesser frigate­bird weighed just 469 grams when it ar­rived at the bird res­cue cen­tre.

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