Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Manawatu rivers are breeding grounds for shorebirds


The Department of Conservation (DOC) is asking everyone to watch out for nesting shorebirds on our rivers this spring and summer.

Sue Moore, Senior Ranger Biodiversity for DOC’s Manawatu District, says shorebirds such as banded dotterel and pied stilts will be seeking out nesting sites on rivers in the Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua.

These shorebirds are not as numerous as they once were. Their nest sites on gravel riverbeds are vulnerable to disturbance and predation.

“Breeding on a river bed is risky business. Nesting shorebirds have to contend with introduced predators, floods, and weeds encroaching on their nest sites,” says Ms Moore. “We can help increase their chances of success by minimising disturbance from people and dogs.”

Eggs and chicks are highly camouflaged to help keep them safe from aerial predators (such as hawks). Unfortunately, it doesn’t protect them from threats on the ground, like hedgehogs, rats, stoats, cats, dogs, people, and vehicles.

Although nests can be difficult to spot, shorebirds will often leave their nest and fake an injury to divert unwanted attention from the eggs or chicks.

“Distraction displays are a good tactic, but if parents are away from their nest too long, eggs may get cold and die,” says Ms Moore. “If you see a shorebird squawking and dragging its wing, there is a good chance it has a nest nearby so give it a wide berth.”

Here are a few tips for things you can do to limit disturbance and help nesting shorebirds:
• Keep noise to a minimum and don’t get too close. If you are still and quiet, you will get to see a lot more of their natural behaviour.
• Keep to marked tracks and paths wherever possible.
• Keep dogs on a leash – even well-trained dogs can scare or injure birds.
• Never fly-tip garden waste or rubbish.
Shorebirds may be nesting and raising chicks from August to February. Locally, you are most likely to come across banded dotterel, black-fronted dotterel, pied stilt, and - if you are lucky - black-billed gulls.

Tuturiwhatu or banded dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus) are a threatened species that breed only in New Zealand. They have a narrow black band on the neck and a wide chestnut band on the breast during the breeding season. Eggs are laid from August to early November in shallow scrapes lined with pebbles. They almost always produce three eggs, which are usually grey-green with small dark spots.

Poaka or pied stilts (Himantopus himantopus) will also fake injuries to draw predators away from their nests. If this doesn’t work, they have been known to ‘dive-bomb’ intruders, swooping down from the air at great speed and making lots of noise to intimidate the enemy. They were quite common in New Zealand but their numbers are declining.

Tarāpuka or black-billed gulls have the unfortunate status of being the most threatened gull species in the world. Scattered populations in the North Island are usually found on sparsely vegetated gravel flats of riverbeds, such as the Manawatu River. If you see black-billed gulls nesting in our area please contact the Manawatu Department of Conservation.
–Ends–
Photos

* Pied stilt at nest. Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai (J. L. Kendrick).
* Banded dotterel chick. Photo by Cleland Wallace.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>

ALSO:

Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>

ALSO:

Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>

ALSO:

Surveying The Surveillance: First IGIS Review Of Warrants Under New Act

The report sets out the Inspector-General’s interpretation of the new warrant provisions under the ISA and her expectations of the GCSB and NZSIS when they prepare warrant applications. More>>

SSC: 2018 Public Service Workforce Data Published

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2018 Our People, Public Service Workforce Data , which shows the Public Service is making significant progress in important areas. More>>

ALSO:

Sinking Cap: Auctions, Permanent Forests, Added To ETS

The move to auctions, signalled in an August consultation paper, will help put a cap on the number of emission units available over time. Annual announcements, looking forward five years, will help provide certainty for scheme participants, she said. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels