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Muriwai visitors asked to leave bird carcasses

Muriwai visitors asked to leave bird carcasses alone

4 July 2002

Visitors to Muriwai Regional Park are being asked to leave bird carcasses on the beach so they can be identified and recorded.

The Auckland Regional Council’s request comes following the appearance of large numbers of dead Fairy Prions on Muriwai Beach in recent days.

ARC park ranger Jim Dent has had visitors bringing in the dead birds at the rate of about six per day for the last several days and some barely alive birds have been taken by the public to local vets.

“It is important to leave the dead birds on the beach so they can be identified and recorded when the Ornithological Society of New Zealand does its regular beach patrol this weekend,” he says.

ARC natural heritage scientist Tim Lovegrove says these common marine birds frequently die in large numbers due to stormy weather conditions and / or poor feeding conditions.

“This is not particularly unusual. While we can’t be sure of the cause of death until the birds are examined internally, weather and feeding conditions are the most likely reasons. The small birds will sometimes battle through stormy weather and reach the coast too exhausted to survive let alone feed themselves,” Dr Lovegrove says.

The Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur) is a type of small grey and white petrel with a black tipped tail. It is very abundant with more than a million pairs breeding in New Zealand, especially on the Poor Knights, Cook Strait and Foveaux Strait islands.

For more information please call

Tim Lovegrove, ARC Natural Heritage Scientist, 366 2000 ext 8575

Jim Dent, ARC Ranger, Muriwai Regional Park, 411-8076

Simon Roche, ARC Communications, 366 2000 ext 8100 or 021 656 380

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