First fairy tern hatches, bring­ing new hope

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

De­spite the weather con­spir­ing against the sur­vival of one of New Zealand’s most en­dan­gered birds the first fairy tern chick of the sea­son has hatched at Pakiri.

The chick hatched on Satur­day, tak­ing the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered species’ num­bers up to 41.

“Although it is early days for the chick and the risks are high, we are hope­ful he or she will con­tinue to do well and fledge later in sum­mer,” De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (DOC) ad­viser on threat­ened species Tony Beauchamp said.

“This breed­ing sea­son has been dis­rupted by a higher num­ber of lows across the cen­tral Tas­man that have de­liv­ered re­peated high wind events. Last year we had five chicks fledge but we are likely to have fewer chicks this year.”

The New Zealand fairy terns breed at only five sites: four on North­land’s east coast be­tween Waipu¯ and Pakiri and one at Pa­pakanui Spit near the Kaipara Har­bour south head.

A ded­i­cated team of four fairy tern DOC rangers have been busy since Sep­tem­ber trap­ping preda­tors near nest­ing sites and pre­vent­ing nest­ing birds from be­ing dis­turbed by hu­mans.

The pub­lic can also help one of the world’s rarest birds by stay­ing out of taped-off or fenced ar­eas and us­ing des­ig­nated walk­ways, tak­ing a wide berth around nests and chicks, keep­ing dogs on leads, re­mov­ing bait, fish and rub­bish to de­ter preda­tors and driv­ing ve­hi­cles be­low the high tide mark. Any­one be­ing chased or squawked at — or if a bird is on the ground pre­tend­ing to be in­jured — is pos­si­bly too close to a nest.

PHOTO / DOC

The odds have been stacked against the NZ fairy tern in the past but this new chick brings new hope, at least for this year.

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